On the surface, I wasn't overly happy about last night's trade that sent Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann to the Chicago Blackhawks. A second round pick is great, but they won't even get to use it until 2018, which is pretty far off for a team that has a relatively dry prospect pool.
I don't know a ton about Phillip Danault. From what I'm told he's a very defensively responsible player, but looking at his stat sheet it doesn't appear that he can create much offensively. There is definitely still time for him to develop at 23 years old, but he doesn't look like he's poised to become a superstar.
So how can I possibly say that this deal is exactly what the Canadiens need? Well, like I said, these were my initial reactions based on what the trade is on the surface. I didn't like it, and I'm still not sure that I like the trade itself, but I really like what it does.
What it does is finally open up the roster so that young players can make their place in the lineup. That is the key thing making this deal palatable for me. The Canadiens lineup just got considerably younger, and now those players are going to get a chance to play big roles for the club.
I've said this before; if this season is already lost, it is imperative that the team begin to develop existing assets more aggressively. The best way to do that is to get them game experience in the NHL. More minutes. More responsibility. Put them out there, let's see what they've got, and we'll all have a better idea of the state of the team moving forwards.
It worked with Daniel Carr, didn't it? He got called up and it was apparent within a matter of games that he was ready to stay. Unfortunately an injury derailed his excellent rookie campaign, but perhaps a similar situation arises with a player like Morgan Ellis, or Michael McCarron.
Here is a potential lineup projection, and it is my personal preference as to what they should use.
|Left wing||Centre||Right wing|
|Max Pacioretty||Tomas Plekanec||Brendan Gallagher|
|Jacob de la Rose||Alex Galchenyuk||Sven Andrighetto|
|Phillip Danault||Lars Eller||Michael McCarron|
|Paul Byron||Torrey Mitchell||Devante Smith-Pelly|
|Left defence||Right defence|
|Andrei Markov||P.K. Subban|
|Mark Barberio||Greg Pateryn|
|Alexei Emelin||Morgan Ellis|
First of all, yes, Alex Galchenyuk needs to be playing up the middle. That much has been clear for some time, and although no centreman was moved in yesterday's deal, it is high time that the coaching staff wake up and make the move. It just makes sense.
Second, as you can see, I've placed some serious emphasis on getting young forwards towards the top of the lineup. Marc Bergevin cleared the roster space, and if Michel Therrien doesn't use it to develop his youngsters, that should be the final nail in his coffin. I think that nail should already have been hammered in, but that doesn't seem to be the case just yet.
Whatever your opinion on the trade, one thing is for sure; there are many more minutes available. If Michel Therrien uses them right, it will be big for the future of the Canadiens.
It should be interesting to see what he does tonight against the Leafs.