Latest roster move in Montreal hints at Karlsson three-way trade!

We are getting closer and closer to a deal...

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There are so many things happening, but first things first. The Montreal Canadiens are facing the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight, as they are in action for the last time ahead of Monday's trade deadline. 

Yesterday, we told you that the Habs had officially announced that both forwards Ales Hemsky and Andrew Shaw won't take part in tomorrow evening's game against the Lightning, though both players participated in a full contact practice on Friday. 

Now, it gets more interesting than this. Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports was first to report that veteran forward Tomas Plekanec will also sit the game out tonight. Lavoie went on to explain that this is seen as "normal procedure" as the 35-year-old could be on the move Monday, as it was recently reported that some teams were looking at the veteran for a boost up front ahead of the postseason. 

Of course, if Plekanec is indeed dealt on Monday, he could always, as a free agent, sign with Montreal on July 1. But in a recent interview with The Athletic, it seemed hard for the veteran forward to imagine having to do so. 

“I don’t even want to leave, so for me it doesn’t even make sense to talk about it,” he said. “When that happens, if anything happens, then you have other possibilities and you move on and you think about the next step, of what can happen, after that. But now, I’m here, I want to be here, I never said anything else besides I want to be here. I think Marc knows that, Claude knows that, and if they want to keep me around, that’s going to be really up to them.”

Now, the added roster move comes at an interesting time - not just because it is the tarde deadline on Monday - but also because chatter has picked up about Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson, and it has been revealed on Saturday that the Canadiens might have something to do with it. 

Travis Yost of TSN has been told by a source that the Habs have been engaged as a third-party team in an Erik Karlsson trade.

Recently, NHL insider Darren Dreger and TSN colleague Bob McKenzie both agreed that a massive offer will be needed to land Karlsson, but the latter believes a rival team might have the perfect trade pitch to convince GM Pierre Dorion to pull the trigger on his captain. McKenzie said he’s heard “upwards of five, six, seven pieces” and perhaps a team being asked to take on forward Bobby Ryan’s contract in that same deal. It is to be noted that Ryan still has four seasons remaining at an annual salary-cap hit of $7.25 million on his current deal. 

"I think the Ottawa Senators are somewhat open to the idea of trading Erik Karlsson between now and the deadline and as a result those conversations are taking place. But it’s got to be for an absolutely huge haul. We’re hearing upwards of five, six, seven pieces and perhaps teams being asked to take on Bobby Ryan’s contract that has four years to go at more at $7 million a year. So to your point, Darren, I think the prices are astronomical and maybe that means they don’t really want to trade him between now and the deadline. But if they get a king’s ransom then they would consider it."

If the report is true and that Dorion is indeed looking to offload Ryan and his massive contract in any potential Karlsson deal, then it is more likely to see a third-team deal takes place.