As Montreal gets set to face the Florida Panthers in sunny Sunrise Florida, rumors are swirling up north that Montreal may be willing to trade #1 Centre Tomas Plekanec, and that he may have agreed to waive his no-trade clause. All of this is speculation of course, the kind that naturally starts to percolate once the trade deadline gets close, and General Managers try to work any possible angle in order to set themselves up for a playoff run – or the next season, whichever the case may be. To further complicate matters, Pierre Gauthier is acting as Habs GM under rumors that he was to be fired this week by Geoff Molson. While PG has had a tumultuous time as GM, making both smart and dumb moves, it makes almost no sense at all to fire him prior to the deadline. It is simply too important that the Habs have an experienced GM in place to handle the types of moves that could happen early next week, rather than have someone acting in an interim role make tough roster decisions. If players like Tomas Plekanec are actually on the trade block – there is no way you can have someone who has been GM for less than 72 hours make smart decisions that if not taken responsibly, could cripple the team going forward.
Given what we know about Molson, Gauthier is at the very least acting with a specific mandate, to stockpile picks, prospects and cap flexibility in advance of the draft and the free-agent signing period. Whether or not Gauthier will lead the Habs during those two periods remains to be seen.
The idea that Plekanec could be up for grabs is a truly interesting proposition. If true, you have to think there is something very big in the works behind the scenes. You don’t trade your best Centre who is signed until 2015-16 unless you have designs on a star player , or a roster shake up of major proportions. As is often the case with rumors such as this, there could be nothing to it at all.. Still given how terribly this season has ended up for the Canadiens who sit in last place in the Eastern Conference, if ever there was a time for something big to happen with this team – now would be the time. Whether a move is made to improve the team’s chances of drafting many high picks, or to bring in an impact player to lead the team going forward – this is the time, when things have gone bad, when we’re likely to see it.