The Montreal Canadiens have played a league most 59 games, yet only have 61 points and are 10 points back of the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. The recent injury of their Captain, Shea Weber, should be the signal for GM Marc Bergevin to sell at the deadline, as the Canadiens playoff hopes get slimmer by the day.
The Canadiens have multiple players that would be of interest to teams, such as the resurgent Ilya Kovalchuk, forward Tomas Tatar, and right-shot defenseman Jeff Petry. Kovalchuk has never registered a positive AB season over the seven years of data we have on him. In fact, his career score is -2.53, and he is coming off his worst score since 2010-2011 last season with a -5.24 score. Now at 36 years of age, Kovy’s main responsibility is to be a leader in the locker room and continue to contribute on offense. This he has done and has done well in Montreal. He hasn’t taken a penalty yet with the Habs in 17 games, and he has drawn 3 on his own in that span as well. He has a 14:3 giveaway/takeaway ratio and is averaging almost 4 minutes less than his career average 21:24 of ice time per game. Kovalchuk is also among the leaders on Montreal in +/- as he is +6 with the team (-10 in LA so -4 overall this season).
At 32-years of age, Jeff Petry has an abysmal -4.72 AB score over a 9-year sample size. He has never registered a positive individual AB season in his career. Petry’s penalty taken/drawn ratio is his only solid stat category with a 9:11. He has the worst giveaway/takeaway ratio on the Canadiens with a 72:24 ratio. He also has the worst +/- on the Canadiens with a -15. Clearing his $5.5 million salary off their payroll next season would be beneficial to Bergevin, as Max Domi is a pending RFA, and will be looking for a raise from his current $3.15 million contract.
Tomas Tatar had his best individual AB score since the 2015-16 season last year when he registered a +3.25 with the Canadiens in his first full season in Montreal. His career AB score is an impressive +2.33, however, his penalty drawn/taken ratio is 17:6, which is low for his standards. His giveaway/takeaway ratio of 26:27 is one of the more solid on the team, and he is only -1 +/- wise. Tatar is having an impressive season points-wise as well; he has 52 points through 59 games, one assist away from tying his career-high. He may be attractive to teams because of his extra year of term on his contract of $4.8 million per year, and he should fetch the Canadiens good value should they decide to trade him. GM Marc Bergevin certainly has his work cut out for him, and Montreal should be one of the most interesting teams to watch in the next few weeks leading up to the February 24th trade deadline. More to come.