Monday, January 12, 2009

Bob Gainey Potential Targets at The Trade Deadline

During today's mid-season assessment of his team, GM Bob Gainey made it clear that is satisfied with his team, but he's looking to add depth on defense, likely a veteran defenseman with some offensive upside.

Let's look at the potential available defensemen at the trade deadline and what would Bob Gainey have to give in order to acquire their services.

Mathieu Schneider ATL $5,625,000/year, contract ends in 2008-2009:

The former Habs defenseman is a power play specialist; however, injuries have affected his play this season with the Thrashers. Schneider, 39, has 8 points in 30 games and he has a -17 plus/minus differential. He has plenty of playoffs experience.

A low draft pick and a pro player (Begin for example) would do the trick.

Nicklas Havelid ATL $2,700,000/year, contract ends in 2008-2009:

Havelid, 35, is an experienced defensive d-man who jumps into the play at the right time. Havelid has 11 points in 43 games this season. He has a great +7 rating with a very bad team.

A 2nd rounder and a young defenseman would do the trick.

Adrian Aucoin CGY $4,000,000/year, contract ends in 2008-2009:

Aucoin is a good puck-handling veteran defenseman that notched 35 points last season. He has 16 points in 41 games with the Flames this season.

The Flames are seeking help at forward and a young defenseman in exchange for Aucoin.

Jordan Leopold COL $1,500,000/year, contract ends in 2008-2009:

Leopold, 28, is a good offensive defenseman with size and grit. He has 15 points in 42 games this season with Colorado. Once traded in exchange for Alex Tanguay, Leopold has a very affordable contract and he would be a very good fit on the Habs defense.

The Avalanche are looking for offensive help due to the injuries to Sakic and Stastny.

Jay Bouwmeester FLA $4,875,000/year, contract ends in 2008-2009:

Bouwmeester, 25, is a franchise defenseman that is not happy in Florida due to their lack of success. Jay Bo has a great season notching 23 points in 42 games. The Panthers are still in the playoffs hunt, so it's unlikely Jacques Martin will deal him now. However, if the Panthers falter and are out of contention at the deadline, look for them to unpack Bouwmeester instead of losing for nothing via free agency.

The package would have to be significant to land Jay Bo. Something like a 1st rounder, a 2nd rounder, a young forward (D'Agostini) and a young defenseman (O'Byrne) would be Jacques Martin's asking price.

Sean O'Donnell LA $1,250,000/year, contract ends in 2008-2009:

O'Donnell, 37, is an experienced defensive defenseman with grit. He has mentored young Drew Doughty this season with great success. O'Donnell is the kind of tough d-man the Habs lacked in last year's playoffs series against Boston and Philly.

The Kings likely seek a 3rd rounder and a prospect for O'Donnell.

Marc-Andre Bergeron MIN $1,254,000/year, contract ends in 2008-2009:

Bergeron, 28, is a power play specialist with defensive shortcomings. He has 16 points in 31 games this season. Bergeron would instantly bolster the Canadiens' power play with his booming shot from the blue line.

The asking price would likely be a middle round pick and a defensive defenseman.

Ville Koistinen NSH $750,000/year, contract ends in 2008-2009:

Koistinen, 26, is an underrated offensive defenseman that is a good on the power play. He has never received much ice-time in Nashville because of players like Weber, Zanon and Suter.

A cheap alternative, Koistinens' asking price would be a middle round pick and a young forward.

Derek Morris PHX $3,916,000/year, contract ends in 2008-2009:

Morris, 30, is a right-handed gritty defenseman. In 40 games this season, Morris only has eight points, therefore making easier to acquire.

If the Coyotes are out of contention at the deadline, Morris' asking price would likely be a young defenseman and 4th round pick.

Tomas Kaberle could also be an interesting option, but I highly doubt Brian Burke would trade him within the division, especially to the Habs.

Which d-man should Gainey try to acquire to bolster his thin blue line?

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