Since time immemorial, two teams that have been linked together on the trade market are the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens.
They've completed several trades together in recent years:
- Al Montoya for a conditional fourth round pick
- David Desharnais for Brandon Davidson (with Edmonton re-claiming Davidson off waivers a year later)
- Zack Kassian for Ben Scrivens
- A pair of draft picks for Jeff Petry
The two clubs have been linked together all year, which is understandable. The Habs need a centre, and the Oilers have them in abundance. It was long-believed that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would be made available, and the Canadiens were a perfect trading partner.
There have even been suggestions that Leon Draisaitl could be traded. Carey Price's name was thrown out there.
Nothing really held too much ground. Completing a trade is a fickle proposition, and so many factors come into play. So while we report rumours brought to light by the team's top insiders, it takes a lot from them to convert from a simple rumour to an actual trade. It doesn't mean these rumours are fake, it just means that the two teams in question couldn't reach a deal, at least not yet.
The big name on the Canadiens' trading block right now is Max Pacioretty. He's playing his best hockey of the year right now, scoring just about every game over a 10 game stretch, and leading the Canadiens in points (which isn't really saying much, when you look at their player stats).
A trade for Pacioretty would be a long-term move. He only has one more year left on his contract after this season, but the Oilers would have first dibs on signing him long term, and when he gets a taste of playing with one of the best players in the world in Connor McDavid, he'll be tempted to stick around.
The point is that he has speed and a good stride. He can keep up with McDavid, which has been a sore need for this team. It's one of the reasons they're struggling so much this year.
What would the price be? Matt Larkin of The Hockey News has a thought about that.
Now, the reported ask from Habs' GM Marc Bergevin starts with a young centre. If RNH is truly off the table, it'll certainly take more than Kailer Yamamoto. Ryan Strome would be a must in the deal, as well as a high pick or two. The reason for this ask? Yamamoto is unproven and a risk. Strome is a centre but hasn't put it all together, but he has the potential. Draft picks make the trade more worthwhile for one of the best goal scorers in the NHL since 2011.
Marc Bergevin has other options out there, from teams with better depth at the centre position. If Peter Chiarelli wants to sway him into dealing with him, the pot will have to be sweet. Very sweet.