CFN – As the Habs inch closer to the play offs they are in need to two key components if they hope to make a long run towards Lord Stanley’s Cup this season.
They need the Vanek effect, but as they saw many times they need some toughness.
Not a good, but some beef. Someone that can be there for team mates, but still score.
Brandon Prust is leading the team in Penalty minutes, but really isn’t an offensive threat. He’s also not a heavyweight. Dale Weise has been getting some top line time, but again, it’s not quite the right fit.
Other than making a monster hockey deal what’s available as a rental or UFA or bad contract?
Target #1 Antoine Vermette. The 32 year old Quebecer would be a nice fit. He can play a 200 foot game, is good in the face off circle. He can play centre or wing. He has some grit (on pace for 100+hits) He also is the most desired of all the players that will be on the market and the Habs would have to give up a lot for what will be a rental. Is rumored to be asking silly money to resign.
Target #2 Chris Stewart. The former 1st round draft pick has scored 28 in the NHL. He’s UFA, but only 27 and will not be looking for Vermette like dollars. Is a RW and could fit in nicely between Galchenyuk and Pacioretty. Will be pricey ,but the Habs have some interesting players and options that might entice Sabres GM Tim Murray who got Josh Gorges for a steal from Montreal. It could be time to return the favour?
Target #3 David Clarkson. I know I’m going to get flack for this one, but I see this as a nice fit for Montreal depending on expectations. He’s recovered nicely from a disastrous first season with the Leafs. He won’t score 30 goals, but 20 goals and 200 hits is something Montreal can really use. The Habs have lots of cash so Clarkson’s weird back end contract while not favorable should not be a deal breaker and his cap hit is only $5.25M. He’s only 30 and barring injury there should be no reason not to see 15-20 goals and 200 hits per season from him.
In the 2011/12 play offs he put up 12 points in 24 games with 41 shots and 32 pims.
You could do a lot worse and right now Montreal has no player that puts up that combination of numbers. The bonus is that the Leafs would probably eat a portion of his salary depending on the deal.
Target #4 RJ Umberger. I’m not a huge fan of Umberger. Of course I don’t think Philly fans are either at this point and at 32 with two more years of contract they may be motivated to move him. What he does bring is what Montreal is again missing; a mild scoring touch with some size and beef.
Target #5 Curtis Glencross. He’s not the biggest sized player in this group, but he does put up intriguing numbers.
He’s on pace for 46 points this season with 160 hits. That’s playing 17 minutes per night for Calgary. He’s UFA and should be a relatively cheap pick up if the Habs wanted to go that way.
Of course more players may become available as a few more times fall out of the race, but right now the market is pretty clear and it becomes a matter of what those GM’s can squeeze out for their players.
What do you think Hab fans? What do you think Montreal needs to make a long run in the play offs this year?
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