Dale Weise's value to the Montreal Canadiens was a topic hotly debated since he was brought into the league two years ago. His offensive abilities clearly made him one of the league's best bottom-six players, but his defensive deficiencies made him unsuitable for a top-six role.
Weise definitely brought a quality game to the Montreal Canadiens during his tenure, and will do so for the Chicago Blackhawks down the stretch and into the Stanley Cup playoffs. He will be a depth scorer for what is already a strong team.
Tomas Fleischmann signed on for the 2015-16 season after impressing the team while playing on a professional tryout in the pre-season. He started off the year very strongly, being one of the best value additions to the team over the first few months. As the season went on, however, his play deteriorated rapidly, to the point where he was becoming a healthy scratch, and not contributing much offence, or even offensive opportunities, to his team.
In our deadline profiles of Weise and Fleischmann, we mentioned the best return for their services would be a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick from this year's draft, respectively.
The actual return turned out to be a 2018 second-round pick, and defensive centre Phillip Danault from the Chicago Blackhawks.
Receiving not only a warm body back in return, but an NHL-calibre player was a bit unexpected. Danault was playing third-line minutes for the Blackhawks, and playing them very effectively. He could jump right into that same role on the Canadiens if the need were to arise.
"Danault is a very responsible two-way player," wrote Second City Hockey's Adam Hess in response to our inquiry on what the latest Canadien brings to the table. "He's very strong in his own zone and good on the faceoff dot."
While he does have the defensive skills, the offence has been lacking from Danault in his professional career. "He's a good passer with soft hands, but he plays a very north-south game. He's a good penalty killer, and he's young enough that his offensive game is still coming along," continued Hess in his summary.
He could be an effective third-line centre, though has not shown he can play near the same level as Lars Eller. Centring a fourth line could be an effective use of Danault, if Michel Therrien chose to use him there over Torrey Mitchell, or if Bergevin has another move lined up to deal one of his deadline acquisitions from last season.
A pending restricted free agent at season's end, management will have 21 games to evaluate Danault, and find his best use for the organization, if any at all. Trading away two players who would be unrestricted for one who allows some level of control to the Canadiens organizations was probably not lost on Bergevin when he accepted the trade.
Danault is a high character/give it his all kinda player. I've seen him go to the dressing room bleeding and back on the ice within minutes.— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) February 27, 2016
The fact that the second-round pick is for 2018 is a bit disappointing, as the stock of junior-aged prospects the Canadiens have right now is very shallow, with only an extra second-rounder for this June's draft to improve the prospect situation. Ideally, the Canadiens would be calling the names of three players in the second round this summer, but they will now have to wait to welcome their new addition in two years time.
The Canadiens also retained a small portion of Weise's salary to allow his contract to fit the Blackhawks' books, but with the Canadiens now in sell mode, they won't need that space to bring in another asset before the contract expires.