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2016 NHL Trade Deadline: Could the Canadiens get something for Devante Smith-Pelly?

A Restricted Free Agent at the end of the season, can Devante Smith-Pelly get the Canadiens something in a trade before the deadline?

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

I've finally decided to resign myself to the fact that the Canadiens aren't going to make the playoffs. I held on to hope for as long as possible, but now I'm ready to fold it in and stock up on some draft picks.

That being said, a prime target for movement as the deadline approaches has to be Devante Smith-Pelly. When he was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in return for Jiri Sekac last season, the move was met mostly by raised eyebrows. Sekac was a promising signing out of Europe, whereas Smith-Pelly hadn't proven much of note in the NHL.

Fast-forward to now, and Smith Pelly is at best a fourth-line player with the Canadiens, often used by his coach in an unjustly higher capacity. In 20 games with the Habs last year, he managed only three points. This year, through 44 games, he has an unflattering 11 points.

Considering that he's even seen some ice time with top players like Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty, those totals are just not cutting it. The last goal he scored was in a win against the lightning, and he just happened to be fortunate that P.K. Subban used him for a bank shot after an insane individual effort.

Marc Bergevin would  be very wise to see what he can get for Smith-Pelly, as perhaps he would be able to fill a role on a team looking to make a run at the playoffs. Though the 22 year-old is on the final year of his current deal, he'll be an RFA at season's end, so any team that takes him on would have a good chance of holding on to him. There could be some value left in him given the right trading partner.

Regardless, as this is a contract year, Bergevin needs to be considering options, of which it seems there are only two.

Re-signing Smith-Pelly

I would have to advise strongly against this route. Surely they could, and his unimpressive point totals would make it relatively inexpensive to do, but it's a hard no from me. They have several young players who started the year in the AHL that are more than capable of filling his role, and would probably produce more as well.

Unless there is a team very interested in him, but wants him locked in for a sign-and-trade; hard no. There are too many guys pushing for a roster spot, and they can no longer afford to hold one for Smith-Pelly.

Finding a trade partner

Top contending teams probably don't have a need for a player like DSP, so you probably have to look at fringe playoff teams who could use a little more depth for a playoff push. Best likely partners are a few points out from the playoffs, so they'd be willing to trade for depth in order to improve their playoff chances.

In the East that would mean a team like Carolina or New Jersey, and in the West we'd be talking about Minnesota or Arizona. Including the teams with small playoff cushions, you could include Colorado, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Nashville out as potentials. They might want a boost to stay ahead of the chasers.

He has to have some appeal to the teams on the bubble because he doesn't handcuff you as an expiring RFA, and could be a decent addition to the bottom-six for several of the teams mentioned. They won't overpay, but I could see a few of those teams taking him on their roster.

Acceptable return

Though I'd love to sit here and pretend that he could yield even a mid-level prospect to bolster the Canadiens' current pool, that is probably a pipe dream. Realistically, the Canadiens should be happy to get a draft pick in return, and you'd again be dreaming to think that it would be a high one.

If Bergevin can somehow bring in a second rounder for him, I'd be very happily surprised. Realistically, they should be happy to take anything from a third down to a fifth, and hope that Trevor Timmins can turn it into gold like he has in the past.

I definitely think that the Canadiens should be trying to deal him, though I question what they can actually get. We'll have to wait and see if Bergevin can work some magic, that is if he is even looking to deal him.

If you ask me, he definitely should be.