Reports are flying right now that Alex Kovalev has played his last game as a Montreal Canadien. Gainey is heavily shopping him, though it is important to remember that Kovalev does have a no-trade in his contract. Kovalev will be a UFA at season's end, so it appears he will be dealt as a rental player. This, however, is just the start.
Losing Kovalev will hurt the Habs up front, as he was and still is expected to be a large part of their offense. We'll start with Kovalev, and where he could end up.
I'm hearing Pittsburgh has already spoken to Montreal about Kovalev, but will not include their first round pick at this point, which is what Montreal is asking. The Pens have bigger things on the go (Kovalchuk, Gaborik for starters) and are not willing to trade major assets for Kovalev.
While Pittsburgh has interest, it's unlikely as Gainey wants to move Kovalev to the West. It should be noted that Kovalev will not waive unless it's to a contender, as if not he'd rather stay in Montreal. So who in the West has interest?
The Canucks, for starters. I am hearing a deal could be in the works that sends a draft pick and a defenseman to Montreal for Kovalev.
Other teams in the early running? Minnesota, Dallas, and surprisingly, Chicago.
Expect Kovalev to be dealt sooner rather than later. Things are not on good terms, and Gainey wants this distraction dealt with ASAP.
But what could this lead to? It is no secret that Montreal still wants Vinny, and this could be a a major piece to that puzzle, just like Schnieder was. A deal was close between Montreal and TB near the deadline, but T-Bay wanted one of Markov or Komisarek, and that wasn't happening. With Schnieder a Hab, and possible d-man coming from Vancouver, the Habs suddenly have the ability to let one of Markov and Komisarek go.
It's Montreal's 100th season, and things should really turn up right about....now.
Stay tuned to Hockeyleaks.com for all the latest