|Pascal Vincent (right) has 3 days left to make a trade.|
The QMJHL's trade deadline is Jan. 6th at 11:59am.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has seen 19 trades go through since December 13th, yet Montreal has yet to be part of any of them. And since the Juniors are one of the top contenders in the league, you can bet that they'll have their part in a trade or two before all is said and done. Which makes me wonder....what kind of deal does Pascal Vincent have in the works?
What's strange is that last year I was made aware of 3 deals the Juniors were preparing to make before they were made official. My sources shared information with me about the Jake Allen trade to Drummondville, the Alex Wall trade to Moncton and the Pierre-Antoine Dion deal to Cape Breton, all contending teams, before the trades were actually registered with the league officials.
Although this year is different. I haven't heard anything as being close to finalized.
If in fact there are a few deals in the works, the organization is being very quiet about it. While I know the franchise is making an effort to strengthen their team in preparation for a long playoff run, I haven't heard a peep in terms of trades that are expected to be announced.
But there's reason to believe that Pascal Vincent has a couple of deals in the works. If we learned anything from the past couple years it's that Pascale Vincent doesn't mind waiting until the last minute to make trades.
In 2009-2010 Vincent made 4 trades during the final 3 days the league's trade period.
And two years ago, during the 2008-2009 season, Vincent made 3 trades during the final 2 days before the deadline.
Conclusion: chances are Vincent has a few deals in the works and we'll likely hear of them in the next few days.
Here's my best guess as to what needs the Juniors will attempt to satisfy via trade:
1. An impact winger: As it stands today, Montreal's best two wingers are Trevor Parkes and Philippe Lefebvre. After that, 20 year old right winger Nicolas Chouinard is often seen as a lock on one of the team's top 2 lines. Right winger David Rose, currently the team's leading scorer with 38 points in 38 games played, normally plays on the team's 3rd line when everyone else is in the lineup is healthy. Point being, the Juniors could use another impact player who can play the wing on one of the top two lines, preferably a multi-dimensional player who brings both offense and a physical game to the table. Ideal acquisition: Philippe Paradis, PEI Rocket.
2. Goaltending depth: Nothing against Etienne Marcoux but it's never a bad idea to have a plan B (or C) at the goaltending position. After all, it only takes a slight groin injury for 19 year old Jean-Francois Berube before the Juniors' playoff pressure lands on the shoulders of 17 year old backup Etienne Marcoux. If that were to happen during the final round of the playoffs, I don't believe the Juniors would be very comfortable with that scenario. If Vincent opts to trade for another goaltender, look for him to acquire an inexpensive 19 year old who could step in if needed. Ideal acquisition: a goalie who can challenge or support Etienne Marcoux in the event that Berube goes down with an injury. Perhaps Mathieu Corbeil Theriault, Halifax Mooseheads or Philippe Tremblay, Rimouski Oceanic.
3. A fourth line energy player: A team can never have too much toughness or too many character players heading into a playoff run. Therefore you shouldn't be surprised if the Juniors try to pick up another forward who can play a physical role on the team's fourth line. If Vincent acquires a player like this it'll be someone who does all the small things it takes to win; finishing checks, blocking shots, killing penalties and being capable of dropping the gloves if necessary. Ideal acquisition: Alexandre Carrier, Val D'Or Foreurs.
Whatever the Juniors decide to do during this year's trade deadline, they better do all they can to improve their chances to win because it's not every year that Montreal will have such a strong chance to win it all.
Photo Credit: Ron Lemish