Trade Deadline - Should the Montreal Canadiens acquire Ryane Clowe?

USA TODAY Sports

Ryane Clowe is the name most oft mentioned as a trade target for the Montreal Canadiens, but is he worth trading for?

I figured the best place to find out whether or not Ryane Clowe would be a good addition to the Canadiens would be Fear the Fin. Fear the Fin is an amazing blog that carefully tracks advanced stats, so they have some insight on Clowe that most people don't.

*cough* Montreal's mainstream media *cough*

So I emailed Derek/The Neutral at Fear the Fin, and asked the following:

Me: Habs fans have expressed an interest in obtaining Ryan Clowe for a playoff run. How has he been playing this year relative to the last couple of seasons?

FTF: Not to draw up a narrative based on shaky evidence (allow me to proceed by doing just that) but Ryane Clowe simply hasn't been the same player since sustaining a ferocious bodycheck at the hands of Niklas Kronwall in the 2011 playoffs. Particularly in the regular season prior to that hit, Clowe was one of the most effective players along the boards in the NHL, consistently winning one-on-one puck battles to help the Sharks sustain possession and create scoring chances.

Over the past season and change, that part of his game has rarely shone through and he's been an utter liability at even-strength when not attached at the hip to Logan Couture. Even at his best, he never truly had the puck skills to drive play through the neutral zone or the hockey sense to trigger clean exits out of the defensive end, with superior linemates like Joe Pavelski and Couture routinely expected to mask his deficiencies.

But he hasn't even been a consistent contributor in the offensive zone this year or last, a decline that has been accentuated by the darkly hilarious 25-game goalless drought he currently finds himself mired in. I honestly don't hold that against him; he's had some epically awful luck as he continues to get a decent amount of chances and his shot rate hasn't really changed. But given the degree to which the rest of his game has fallen off, he simply isn't providing much additional value to a team if he isn't producing offensively.

Despite his goal total, I think he could be a reasonable addition to a sheltered scoring line when pucks finally start going in for him but Clowe is no longer the fearsome power forward interested teams may assume they're acquiring.

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Thanks for the scouting report, Derek!

The interesting thing about Ryane Clowe, something that Olivier mentioned yesterday on twitter, is that his personal shot production is actually up compared to the last two years.

Year Shots per 60 minutes Shot attempts per 60 minutes
2010-11 7.43 11.47
2011-12 6.99 11.61
2012-13 8.53 16.55

Does that mean much? I'm not entirely sure. What we do know is that the three seasons before this one, Clowe managed a 54.6% Corsi percentage at even strength, but only 49.7% in 830 minutes away from Logan Couture, which holds with Derek's analysis that he doesn't drive the play on his own.

We can also see that this season shows a pretty severe degradation in these statistics. While Clowe is overall still a positive possession player at 51.8%, half of his ice time has been spent without Logan Couture, and without him he's just a 45.8% player.

It seems that Clowe's usefulness at best is as a complementary player, but he could slot in on the right of Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk and possibly be effective.

With that said, this is not a player that the Canadiens should be spending a lot of assets on. He's not a Jarome Iginla.

What would you be willing to sacrifice to bring him on?


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