The Montreal Canadiens are off to a four-game road trip in Colorado, Arizona, Vegas and then Philadelphia, only to be back a few days before the trade deadline to face the New York Rangers on the 22 of February.
Eric Engels of Sportsnet has asked a very pertinent question ahead of the Canadiens' weekly schedule: "You have to wonder if either one — or both — of Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec have played their last games at Bell Centre as members of the Montreal Canadiens."
Both veteran forwards have heard their name in trade chatter since November, when things started heading south for the Habs, and could be on the move ahead of the deadline.
Plekanec has been linked to the Pittsburgh Penguins, as they seek a third-line centre for yet another playoff run, while Pacioretty has been mentioned in trade talks in Columbus, Boston, Anaheim and Nashville.
While both players could be kept in the fold for the remainder of the (lost) season in Montreal, there is also a chance they could be moved before Feb. 26. Meaning the last game against the Predators on Saturday in Montreal would be the last time fans got to see both forwards in a Habs uniform at the Bell Centre.
“It would be weird if Pleky left, for sure. I grew up watching him,” said Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin. “Just having him here as a veteran and as my teammate has been special. It’s weird, in general, having a guy as a teammate one day and then next day he’s gone. Same goes for Patch. It definitely would be strange if we go on a road trip and our captain doesn’t come back from it."
Obviously, it is also something players in the Canadiens dressing room have thought about. We are in the final stretch ahead of the trade deadline, and the Habs could return to Montreal looking quite different...