The most recent FanPulse poll asked fans of the 31 NHL teams which category their team fell into heading into the February 24 NHL Trade Deadline: Buyer or Seller?
Fans of teams leading their respective divisions were understandably looking forward to bolstering the roster for a playoff run, while those in the lowest ranks were eager to build for the future. In between those extremes, the picture is a bit cloudier, with various factors at play in making the decision.
While some fanbases are split down the middle on which direction to take, Montreal Canadiens fans are largely in agreement regarding Marc Bergevin’s role in the coming weeks. Sitting seven points out of a division seed, 81% believe the Habs will be sellers.
To what extent Montreal should sell is a different question. Less than a fifth thought the team will add to try to make the playoffs, but those who chose the seller option likely have some different names in mind.
There are the typical rental players on expiring deals who are usually flipped for at least some return. Dale Weise, Nate Thompson, Marco Scandella, Christian Folin, and current star of the team Ilya Kovalchuk fit that bill. Even those situations aren’t clear cut, with some wondering if it wouldn’t be better to offer extensions to one or two to keep them for the future.
There are some longer-term deals and pending restricted free agents also in the conversation. Tomas Tatar has been a great addition to the team, but he could bring a significant haul were he to be traded. Max Domi’s name has also been mentioned as his second year hasn’t quite matched up to his first in Montreal, and the Canadiens are seeing a good number of other quality forward entering the fold.
More substantial options have the core being broken up to go with a true rebuild, with the likes of Carey Price, Shea Weber, and Jeff Petry cited as the ones to go so a much younger core can develop, potentially becoming a contender in a few years’ time as some of the promising prospects become NHLers.
To what degree do you believe the Canadiens should sell off their assets in the next couple of weeks?
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