The rumour mill intensifies with each passing day. Will M. Gainey pull the trigger? What are the needs of Montreal? What is the price the Habs are ready to pay for a rental? To think that Sergei Federov is everything this team would need seems laughable at best.
Laughable but certainly not unrealistic and even less as bad as it's sound. Let's look as some facts on which we can built speculations. For Montreal's point of view we suspect:
- Bob Gainey will not include valuable prospects for a rental. I cannot imagine the GM giving a Chipchura, S. or A. Kots, Price and any of that category. To gain a Hossa-type of player, you have to give that.
- The only way Mr. Gainey would give such a prospect would be for a world-class player that he is sure to sign afterward. We all know that this GM doesn't negotiate during the season so we can be pretty much sure that getting a Hossa or insert world-class player's name here) and have him signed this year is not impossible but improbable.
- We know that Mr. Gainey is sometimes willing to give a lesser-rated prospect but still a good one (ex: Balej). In this category we have: suspect number one Corey Locke, Duncan Milroy, D'agostini and a few others. These the Habs are willing to part with.
- Mr. Gainey is sometimes willing to give draft pics.
- Some veterans are definately available (Michael Ryder, Mathieu Dandenault)
The names that were given here are not part of the big picture in the future and let's be honest here: Michael Ryder won't fetch a Tanguay. If we take these players out of the hat we have a Ryder (on his last-year contract), a Dandenault (a 5-6 defenceman), Milroy and Locke and some draft pics. By giving these, you are not touching in any way your team's future (pro) but these won't get you a superstar (con).
What Montreal needs now? Certainly not a defenceman as the Habs already have more D than they can handle (Dandenault unhappy, Streit playing as a winger, O'byrne coming back and so forth.) What the habs need is a center and/or winger.
Why? Because if Capt. Koivu gets hurt (which is likely down the stretch), they need someone to carry the load on the second-line. Since may of you are having nightmares about having Smolinsky or Lapierre centering the second line (understandable), what do we do if a center gets hurt? Play Higgins? Capable but leaving a hole at wing.
Since the Habs are doing so well, many are saying that breaking the chemistry would be bad and that is true. This is where Federov comes in nice in the equation.
- A package of Ryder and Locke (or any of the above) could probably get pry him out of Columbus (since the Blue Jackets are still in the hunt for a playoff spot, Ryder could help them a lot to achieve this goal without making them sellers.)
- You get a veteran who could help the many young russians who think quite highly of Federov.
- Federov always told of his dream of wearing the habs jersey (better that than someone who thinks it is a chore)
- He can play center, winger or D. Without disturbing the chemistry, he can take Ryder's place on wing with Koivu or (more likely), lil' kots will play with the capt. and Federov can center Lapierre and Latendresse.
- You do not salvage your future.
- His contract ends at the end of the season and will be reasonable salary for the reminder of the season.
- Is being coached and trained by a Gainey favorite (Hitchcock)
So, all things considered, this move makes sense. It is unlikely but certainly not improbable.
Come play-off time, a injured Koivu or Plecky hurts a lot but a Federov wanting to close a nice career in Mtl doesn't seems that bad.