As of tomorrow, Monday 2/8, it will be exactly 3 weeks to the NHL trading deadline. With many teams close to a playoff berth, there won't figure to be too many sellers of players at this year's deadline. Per Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, the Montreal Canadiens may be one.
Montreal GM Marc Bergevin has been working the phones aggressively trying to make something happen to get his club out of its doldrums. The Habs haven’t hung out the ‘For Sale’ sign but they’re listening to offers on UFA forwards Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise along with defenceman Tom Gilbert. If the Habs can’t get goalie Carey Price back soon, then those talks will intensify ...
The Pittsburgh Penguins probably have interest and a need for a bottom-six winger, and thanks to the Pascal Dupuis LTIR, they currently have $1.6 million to add in salaries. The team will also need to get healthy and receive boosts when guys like Nick Bonino and Eric Fehr return but with the loss of Dupuis, Daniel Sprong (back to juniors) and the perpetually injured Beau Bennett, an addition to the forward group makes sense.
They don't have a ton to trade away either, which makes even more sense to add a low-key type pickup.
Fleischmann shouldn't be a consideration, he's a past-peak 31 year old offensive player who operates on the perimeter and his best years are in the past. He would be helpful when he's scoring, but that's about it, and he doesn't score as much as he once did. That's not a fit for what Pittsburgh needs, which would ideally be a winger with speed, size, PK ability and more of a straight-forward net-front type approach.
Which sounds an awful lot like Dale Weise's Hockey News player profile:
|Assets:||Has good size and plays the game with honest effort and sound work ethic. Excels as a forechecker. Will also drop the gloves if the situation warrants it.|
Doesn't have natural talent, so points are always the result of maximum effort--even at lower levels. Isn'tvery useful if he's not hitting early and often.
|Career Potential:||Depth crash-and-bang winger.|
Weise makes a nominal $1.025 million and is an unrestricted free agent this summer. One thing Weise hasn't done this year is kill penalties (only 0:03 per game this season) but he was utilized there a little last season killing 36 seconds per game, so there's the potential the Pens could test him in that type of role.
Let's take a peek at Weise's metrics, from Own the Puck:
That's pretty good, he gets 4th line ice time but scores goals, assists and points at very high rates. His Corsi figures don't significantly out-perform his role, but his stats.hockeyanalysis page shows a fairly successful Corsi season personally.
By comparison with other Penguin lower liners, Weise looks really good:
Identifying a player that could help is the easy part, figuring if a trade is realistic can be a little tougher. Would the Canadiens be interested in a player like Ian Cole? Probably not, with 2 more years at $2.1 million and not much of a successful track record, it's tough to see a lot of interest there.
What about Sergei Plotnikov? He isn't figuring into Pittsburgh's lineup, can a trade be worked out with him and a draft pick? Never know until you ask.
Would the Pens be willing to trade a young player like Bryan Rust or Conor Sheary or Tom Kuhnhackl for a rental in Weise? Montreal would probably like that, but hopefully Pittsburgh will be of the mindset not to sacrifice too much of a young asset there. For instance, with as much as they seem to like Rust, I'd be surprised if he is traded, they'd probably opt not to make a trade at all if that was the only guy Montreal was interested in.
It doesn't seem like a perfect alignment of making Montreal happy with a good return that Pittsburgh would be looking to trade, but then again, right now we don't know what they would want in return, or what the other offers they are receiving are. I wouldn't think Dale Weise is the type of player you need to get in a bidding war for and end up losing multiple draft picks (ala Daniel Winnik all over again) but if something can be worked out, it should be explored.
The Pens need better and more productive lower-line play and Weise has a history of great production from such a role and would add more size and speed to the team.