Could the Montreal Canadiens make their first trade with the Boston Bruins since they acquired defenseman Eric Weinrich straight up from the Habs for defenseman Patrick Traverse on February 21, 2001?
All indications are that once new Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes and Canadiens executive vice president of hockey operations (and former Bruins GM), Jeff Gorton scout their own team for the next week to two weeks, they could start wheeling and dealing on the NHL trade market as they attempt to stock the last-place Habs with draft picks and prospects. One Canadiens player that is expected to be moved, is six-foot-three, 225-pound, 30-year-old, left-shot defenseman Ben Chiarot. Chiarot is in the final season of a three-year contract that carries a $3.5 million salary-cap hit.
By all accounts, the Boston Bruins have been scouring the NHL trade market for a left-shot, physical defenseman that can play top-four pairing minutes and Chiarot definitely fills that need. In 35 games for the struggling Habs, Chiarot has five goals and three assists and is averaging 23:23 TOI per game. He’s not going rack up the points but as he proved in the Canadiens’ improbable run to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, he’s the type of rugged rearguard you need in your top four pairings to win in the playoffs.
“He’s definitely the type of player the Bruins could’ve used in 2019 when they lost to the Blues,” an NHL pro scout pointed out to Montreal Hockey Now recently. “I know there’s talk that he may get the Habs a first-round pick at the deadline, but does Hughes want to wait that long and take a chance he gets stuck with him when he’s basically not coming back next season?”
Boston Hockey Now reported here Monday that the Bruins were actually looking into Dallas Stars right-shot defenseman John Klingberg but as my BHN lead reporter Joe Haggerty has pointed out on Twitter and as mentioned above, it’s no secret the B’s would prefer to acquire a left-shot d-man that can eat up minutes and bring a physical edge as well. There are some pretty attractive names out there right now, specifically Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun, but as Haggs pointed out a month ago when news broke that Chychrun was available, the asking price for the six-foot-two, 210-pound, 23-year-old Chychrun was high. Well, now it’s even higher according to Sportsnet NHL Insider Jeff Marek.
According to Marek, the Florida Panthers are also interested in Chychrun but if the Panthers wanted to acquire the 2016 first-round pick on the current NHL trade market, it would likely cost them goalie Spencer Knight, forward Anton Lundell, and a first-round draft pick. One look at the Boston Bruins prospect pool and that’s a hard no-go on the Chychrun to Bruins chances. That being said, the Canadiens could become a suitor for Chychrun on the NHL trade market but there’s been no chatter on that just yet.
So as Bruins GM Don Sweeney continues to try and solidify his blue line on the NHL trade market, it may not hurt to look north to the Bruins’ archrivals and ask Hughes and Gorton if they’d like to pull off a rare Bruins-Habs trade.