The Montreal Canadiens are one of the few teams in the National Hockey League that is constantly at the core of trade discussions. Marc Bergevin has been one of the most active general managers on the trade market since taking over the role in 2012, completing more trades than almost any team in the league.
Here's a chart showing how many trades different general managers have completed since 2016.
Bergevin only trails John Chayka and the Arizona Coyotes for most trades made in the past couple years. Now - he's made a slew of solid depth moves, making little deals like trading Zach Redmond to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Nicolas Deslauriers, who's been a veritable spark plug for the team. Same can be said about the acquisition of Dale Weise back in the day, and flipping him later for Phillip Danault.
The problem is when it comes to major deals.
He's traded P.K. Subban for Shea Weber - and while Weber is undoubtedly one of the best defensemen in the league, he's older, slower, and his contract is horrendous. Then you look at Jonathan Drouin coming in for Mikhail Sergachev. They've had polar opposite seasons, with Sergachev thriving in Tampa Bay. That one may be a bit too early to judge, but when you trade the best defensive prospect in the league, you do it for a centre. They play Drouin at centre, but Bergevin openly admitted recently that he's really a winger in an ideal world.
So here we are - the Canadiens have still failed to answer the perennial question: who will be the future number one centre for the bleu-blanc-rouge?
The answer might lie with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet recently revealed on Hockey Night in Canada that the Canadiens still have significant interest in Pierre-Luc Dubois, who hails from the same northern Quebec hometown as Jonathan Drouin.
The 19-year-old was drafted 3rd overall in 2016 by the Blue Jackets much to the surprise of many, as Jesse Puljujarvi was still available at #3. Drafted as a centre, Dubois was started on the wing this year, managing only 2 points in 20 games. In 24 games since, he's put up 20 points.
What sparked the change?
He was transitioned to centre, his natural position. And he's thrived between Artemi Panarin and Josh Anderson.
Marc Bergevin certainly sees this, and will do everything he can according to Kypreos to make a deal happen here. The analyst warns though that the Blue Jackets don't have any intention of trading him just yet, as they need to see where they are when healthy, which as of now, they are not. But he isn't untouchable, according to Kypreos.
Bergevin reportedly attempted to trade up in the draft to land Dubois, but couldn't make it work. He ended up acquiring Sergachev at 9th overall.
Elliotte Friedman jumped in and mentioned that Columbus has expressed interest in Alex Galchenyuk, and with that former 3rd overall pick thriving for a long stretch now, upping his trade value by the day, a trade could be in the works between these two players. Friedman doesn't believe a one-for-one swap would work though, with Montreal needing to add to the deal.
They have some interesting prospects in the pipeline as well as three 2nd round picks in the 2018 draft, so it's very possible Bergevin can assemble a trade package.
This deal would allow Drouin to go back to the wing, and could make a formidable duo with his hometown friend in Dubois.
Kypreos also sees a fit with Jack Johnson in Montreal. He requested a trade this season, and while the price is also high, the left-shot defenseman could be exactly what the doctor ordered for the Canadiens.
Don't be surprised if you hear this rumor picking up steam as the trade deadline approaches. Jack Johnson and Pierre Luc-Dubois to Montreal? That would be the blockbuster deal of the deadline.