Last year it was Marian Hossa, last summer it was Mats Sundin, and now the bombshell of all bombshells is about to dominate the Montreal airwaves until the March 3 trade deadline.
Before everyone goes all goofy reading TSN's Bob MacKenzie's blog today about the possibility of Vincent Lecavalier coming to the Habs in short order, I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and think about what this would take and what it would mean to this year's team.
If the Canadiens were in a position to only think about the long-term, or even to only think about next season, then trading for Lecavalier would be a no-brainer, one that should be made at nearly any cost.
But I'm not convinced that a trade like this would help this year's team make the Stanley Cup final, or win it for that matter.
The names being bandied about right now, in my opinion, are ridiculous. I know the Tampa Bay Lightning is an insane asylum right now, but would they be that monumentally stupid to trade their franchise player for only two NHL-ready players, none of them stars? Tomas Plekanec and Christopher Higgins are nice players, and P.K. Subban looks like he might turn into something special, but Lightning GM Brian Lawton woould have to be hopped up on some great stuff to agree to a deal like that.
Lecavalier is not an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. On the contrary, he has an 11-year, $86 million extension that kicks in on July 1, along with a no-movement clause, that will take him to age 40. His cap hit on the new deal is actually quite reasonable at about $7.8 million per season, which is what makes him so much more valuable in trade talks.
If Marian Hossa was worth two promising, young players, a hot prospect and a first-round pick at last year's deadline, wouldn't Lecavalier be able to fetch far more than that?
If I'm Lawton, the discussion begins with Carey Price, and once he sees that won't get him anywhere it moves on to a package including Andrei Kostitsyn, Max Pacioretty, Higgins or Plekanec and Ryan McDonagh/Subban, along with a slew of draft picks, at least two of them first-rounders. Would Bob Gainey be willing to give up that much for a player that perfectly fits the profile of what his team needs - a big, scoring centre who also happens to be a francophone?
I'm not sure he would, and power to him for at least acknowledging Monday during his state of the union address that the team's number one need is in fact another defenceman. His non-denial of the Lecavalier talks is not surprising, since I have no doubt Gainey has had a conversation or two with Lawton regarding Lecavalier's availability and what it would take to get him here.
If indeed it takes two underachieving players on the verge of restricted free agency along with some prospects and picks, then by all means Mr. Gainey, pull the trigger and do it fast. But I refuse to believe that's all it would take, and as we saw last season in Gainey's dance with the Thrashers over Hossa, he's not willing to bet the farm on one player.
The way his team is playing so far this season, why would he?