Is Habs GM Marc Bergevin's plan over?
With the trade deadline in less than 24 hours, many Habs fans are wondering if GM Marc Bergevin has done what he must do. Following an embarrassing 5-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets last night, Bergevin worked on the defensive core, placing Victor Mete on waivers, and trading for Jon Merrill. In my opinion, this is a step in the right direction. Despite being a fan favorite, Victor Mete has not proven himself to be a consistent NHL player. Fans have been waiting for his breakout season for three years, however, it has yet to come. His skating is great, but his defensive game isn’t up to par. Merrill should be a step up from Mete.
This unfortunately doesn’t fix Montreal’s big issue: Goal scoring. Eric Staal was a great pickup, but more needs to be done. The Canadiens have goal scorers, but they can’t rely on the same five players to score each game. Half of the Habs’ forwards have less than five goals, and this isn’t just from the bottom six. Jonathan Drouin, who is a top-six player, has only registered two goals this season. That’s on pace for just four goals in an 82-game season.
The absence of Brendan Gallagher has definitely hurt the team as well. Gallagher, who is tied with Josh Anderson for second on the team in goals with 14, is out for the next few weeks with a fractured thumb. It is incredibly unfortunate, as Gally not only puts pucks in the net, but provides leadership. For a team fighting to stay in the playoff race, this injury comes at a very bad time.
With the cap issues, it is nearly impossible for the Canadiens to acquire a star goal scorer, however a minor trade to improve the bottom six would be a great option. The LA Kings’ Alex Lafallo is ranked very high on TSN’s trade bait board, carries a low cap-hit, and scores goals (11 on the season so far, on pace for over 20). A player of his caliber and cap-hit would be a great addition to the lineup.
The deadline is almost here, but most of the big-name players who are set to be traded are still available, which means that more teams are going to start buying. Will the Canadiens be one of those teams? If they aren’t, then their forwards have to start scoring at a more consistent pace.
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