The Montreal Canadiens don’t have a ton a maneuverability. Their roster is made up of players with long-term contracts or little trade value. But defenseman Ben Chiarot is on an expiring contract and will be a big chip.
First-round pick anyone?
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman expressed on the Jeff Marek Show that it’s possible.
“I think you absolutely could. Ben Chiarot’s a good player…He’s playoff tested, he’s not a high maintenance guy.”
Defenseman with playoff experience come at a high premium at trade deadline. And teams will line up for one of Montreal’s leaders from last year’s run to the Stanley Cup Final.
Last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning gave up a first-round pick and a third-round pick to acquire defenseman David Savard. Chiarot is a vastly superior player…
Even if the Canadiens believe Chiarot can be part of the future, there’s nothing stopping them from bringing him back next season.
New York Islanders
They’re off to a slow start but there’s still time to turn things around. New York has started the season on a historically long road trip of 13-games. Heading into the season, many had the Islanders pegged to sit atop the NHL’s Metropolitan division. Their defense is depleted and they’ve recalled Robin Salo from the Bridgeport Islanders of the AHL. Ryan Pulock will miss the next 4-to-6 weeks with an injury.
GM Lou Lou Lamoriello has a track record of making significant deadline deals when he thinks his team is in the hunt. And when he was with the Toronto Maple Leafs, made a significant deadline transaction with GM Marc Bergevin, acquiring Tomas Plekanec.
With coach Barry Trotz’s system and way the Islander want to play (especially at playoff time), Chiarot would be a perfect fit.
Toronto Maple Leafs
They gave up a first-pick last season to acquire Nick Foligno and who knows if they’ll want to go down that road again. But the two things Toronto lacks is playoff experience and the ability to shut down their opponents when games tighten up. Time is ticking on the Leafs’ core and their GM. It might be now or never for a team that must at the very least get out of the first round of the playoffs.
It already seems like they are willing to move Justin Holl or Travis Dermott. Toronto seems set on the left-side with Morgan Reilly, Jake Muzzin, and Rasmus Sandin. Someone would have to switch sides to accommodate Chiarot but he remains the exact type of player they need.
The Oilers seem like a team that could make a serious run if they add a couple pieces. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are two of the best players of their generation. Off-season pickups Zach Hyman and Duncan Keith have had immediate impacts.
Picking up a legit goaltender and another veteran defenseman could be the difference. A pairing of Chiarot and Evan Bouchard would be formidable. He also has experience playing in the Western Conference.
The Pacific Division is Edmonton’s for the taking.
The Avalanche have failed in the playoffs. They are locked into their core and are one of the powerhouse teams in the league. The time is now, and it would be surprising if Colorado didn’t try to bolster their defense and their top-6.
The priority might be an offensive minded player up front, but their defense needs help. They added Devon Toews in an off-season trade with the Islanders and signed Jack Johnson. Bowen Byram has battled injuries and there’s been trade rumors surrounding Samuel Girard.
The Avs might not have the assets required to get both things they desperately need but they’re going to try.
Wherever Chiarot ends up, the trade is going to be the most important one made in season for Montreal. Anything less than a first rounder will be a disappointment.