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Phase One of Rebuild Begins


               It has been a couple of days now since the deadline ended. Gone are veterans Green and Connauton [twice traded]. Younger players have arrived in the hopes of making the team. "The next fifteen games or so will be our training camp. It will be an opportunity for the veterans on the club to show why they need to stay and the youth to push for a roster spot next season. Laval will most likely be in the playoffs and as you saw at the deadline, the team was not safe from changes either." The biggest change in Montreal is the arrival of veteran Jimmy Howard who will push Jake Allen. In Laval, Lizotte and and Frederic were shipped out and replaced by size on defense in Stanley and veteran leadership in Valiev. Here is a look at the four deals Montreal made.

Chicago/Montreal  - Milano / 500k to Chicago for Veronneau/Safin [prospect]

                                   Milano had good numbers in Laval but the Canadiens felt that he had reached his ceiling in Montreal.  While Milano has a better offensive skill set; Veronneau is pegged to play 3rd line minutes as soon as next season on the PK. The wildcard in the deal is Safin who currently is in the Wichita. During his time in junior, he scored 29 goals and 69 points for Halifax and Saint John. If that scoring prowess translates to goals in the AHL, then the Canadiens may have a solid second line winger who can provide much needed scoring. Safin and Veronneau also fill a huge void on the rw where the team desperately needs help.

Vegas/Montreal  - Green / 4th to Vegas for Howard, MacDonald, and a 3rd

                             In the biggest deal of the day for Montreal, Mike Green was sent to Las Vegas. The Canadiens were not going to sign him and sending him to a playoff team where the Canadiens could get a pick to help with the rebuild was important. Green had good numbers in Montreal scoring 7 goals and 33 points and provided leadership in the locker room. The Canadiens are now looking at Alzner and Golubef to fill that role next season. Jake Allen has had to carry the mail most nights as Aaron Dell has just not gotten the job done when called upon. Jimmy Howard provides a veteran starter/backup for next season. The Canadiens need Howard to be a mentor to Allen. While having three goalies next season could be seen as problematic, the reality is Dell is the odd man out. Allen and Howard will share the workload. MacDonald has put up good numbers in the AHL but just couldn't fine a spot in Vegas. Montreal will sign the young d-man and he will play big minutes next season especially on the PK. The 3rd round pick for 2021 gives Montreal 8 picks in next year's draft to restock the cupoboards.

Dallas/Montreal  - Connauton / Frederic to Dallas for Eyssimont / Valiev

                             This has been a deal that has taken a week to make. Similar to Green, Connauton was not going to be brought back next season. A solid bottom six d-man who can eat up minutes, his role will be different than it was in Montreal. Oftentimes, he was asked to play roles that were just not in his skill set. On a team with a deeper defense, Connauton will be that solid stay at home d-man. Frederic was sent to clear room in Laval. The Canadiens liked his game but with Rasmussen, Kyrou, and top prospects Dach, Krebs, and Davidsson coming, there was no room for him. Eyssimont will be expected to play minutes on the PK and will be asked to provide energy on the 3rd/4th line. Valiev is auditioning for a roster spot in Montreal. He has put up solid numbers in the AHL but it will be his puck moving skills and size that will get him his seat on the bus for Montreal. He will finish the season in Laval adding some much needed scoring from the back end. Wotherspoon was their top scoring d-man up until the trade with 23 points. Valiev's offense on the PP gives Laval a diffeent look.

Boston/Montreal  - Lizotte to Boston for Stanley

                             The Canadiens were done dealing until the offer for Stanley came in. Lizotte was probably going to start next season in Laval and then be brought up to Montreal. There is a lot of upside with this player but in the end Stanley solves a problem in Montreal. While he will not be a top scoring d-man stanley could develop into a second pairing d-man who clears the net and won't hurt the team defensively. Montreal wanted to improve th defense and feel that Stanley does this. At 6.7, Stanley brings 76 minutes of penalty minutes so he plays with an edge something that GM Forget feels the Canadiens lack.

                             Other GM's also expressed interest in Dach and Kyrou but with a rebuild starting those two prospects were deemed untoucheable by the club. The Canadiens trade deadline day was busier than they thought. The arrival of the new players means that the Canadiens have now officially started the long road back to hopefully the playoffs. Will any of these players be there when it happens? Definately not Howard but players like Veronneau, Stanley, and Valiev make up a good support team for the stars on the rise like Dach.

Stephen Gough

great article, was surprised to see howard tagged. Not sure if he will play out that entire Tag

Phase One of Rebuild Begins
Montreal Sends Veterans Out As Canadiens Begin Changing The Face Of The Team

• 1 teams Like this  1 month
Greg Forget That said, a team might need a backup next season and take a flyer on him. He can't be worse than Dell
1 month  0 teams Like this
Kyle Phillips

Solid article! As someone who's been, let's say, "creative" with franchise tags, I'd also be intrigued to read something specifically addressing the Jimmy Howard decision. I think he may be the oldest player to ever be FT'd in the EHE (?)

Phase One of Rebuild Begins
Montreal Sends Veterans Out As Canadiens Begin Changing The Face Of The Team

• 1 teams Like this  1 month