Potential Montreal Canadiens retool: three targets for Islanders

New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens
New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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The New York Islanders need to strengthen their roster. With the Montreal Canadiens retooling who should they target off of the Habs roster?

The Montreal Canadiens have made big changes at the top of the organization. GM Marc Bergevin is gone as is Trevor Timmins and Paul Wilson. Former New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton was named executive VP of Hockey Operations and will lead the Habs search for a new GM and a new direction. As the New York Islanders look for reinforcements, can they look to Montreal for those reinforcements?

I know the first thing I did when I saw the quotes from owner Jeff Molson that the Habs needed "a fresh start" was to look at who the Islanders could pick off the Habs roster.

And while I know the Montreal Canadiens are technically better than the Islanders (they have two extra points in the standings), both teams are - supposed- to be at different phases within their cycle. With the firings, the Habs are retooling while the Isles are supposed to be in their window for a cup. Although the current standings seem to suggest otherwise for the Islanders.

First, I want to talk about timing. The Montreal Canadiens are seemingly in no rush to appoint a new GM. That means the Islanders have time to get back to full strength and see if they're indeed still buyers or not.

Because as it stands now the Islanders aren't in a position to buy. I know the goal was supposed to be a Stanley Cup this year, but being 12 points back of a wild card spot with 20% of the season completed isn't great.

But its possible that the Islanders turn things around. While they are 12 points back, they have four games in hand and an overwhelming amount of their schedule is at home. Where the Islanders have been excellent since 2018-19.

If the Islanders can get back to a path to the playoffs, both squads would be ideal trade partners. So, with that assumption (that the Isles can get back to a playoff spot) who should the Islanders target off the Montreal Canadiens roster? Here are three players I'd look at: why that player is a good target and why it might not happen.

Montreal Canadiens v Washington Capitals
Montreal Canadiens v Washington Capitals / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

Tyler Toffoli

The Islanders need goals. I think that's obvious, right? The first target should be a guy who can pop in 20+ goals in a year. Tyler Toffoli put up 28 goals in a 52 game season last year for the Montreal Canadiens. That's a pace of 44 goals in an 82 game year. That on its own sounds like the perfect type of player for the Islanders.

Sure, last year was a weird season with how teams only played strictly within the division. But in Vancouver (post-2020 trade deadline) Toffoli scored six in ten games. Come to the playoffs, the former LA Kings forward has seven goals in 29 games (since 2019-20).

Toffoli can score goals. There's no question of that and could be a good add for the Islanders as they search for more scoring. Toffoli is an obvious target for the Islanders.

Is it just me or does it feels like the 2020 trade deadline all over again?

Toffoli is in the second year of a four years $17 million deal ($4.25 million AAV). Bringing him in doesn't break the Islanders cap situation. And if he can provide offense that cap hit will be worth it.

Why is may not happen?

The only way this doesn't happen is if the Canadiens decide to ask for way too much. And why would they do that exactly? I can't imagine the Habs are going to be giving him away but they certainly aren't in a position to ask for a massive package.

Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers
Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers / Al Bello/GettyImages

Jeff Petry

Getting a defenseman who can score and control a power play would be great. Being left handed would be ideal, but I don't think the New York Islanders will mind if that player is a righty.

Enter Jeff Petry.

Since 2017-18, Petry has 172 points in 313 games for the Habs. That includes 16 power-play goals and another 45 power-play helpers. Only Mathew Barzal (66) and Josh Bailey (65) have more PPP than Petry's 61 since 2017-18.

He's not a left-shot, but again that won't matter if the results come in.

Why it may not happen

Have you seen his contract? Petry is signed through 2024-25 at a $6.25 million cap hit. Can the Habs be convinced to hold some money to make it more palatable? Maybe?

Even if the Islanders asked them to hold a million dollars, that would still be asking a lot and will obviously raise the price. Now consider that Petry turns 34 in early December. That deal will pay him till he's 38-years-old. That's too much money for too long. Even if the Habs can be convinced to hold some of the AAV.

Nashville Predators v Montreal Canadiens
Nashville Predators v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Josh Anderson

Back to looking at a goal scorer. I know Brendan Gallagher might be a good fit in terms of his tenacity and 30 goal potential, but I can't think that the Habs are ready to take out the heart of the club at this moment. They're looking to retool not rebuild (at least in my eyes).

Josh Anderson (after Toffoli and Gallagher) is the next name to look at. The 27-year-old has 24 goals over the last 75 games with the Habs. A pace of 26 over a full NHL season and fits with his one 27 goal return in a Columbus sweater.

The goal scoring potential is there for Anderson and could be a good fit for the Islanders.

Why it may not happen

Just like Petry, look at that contract. Anderson is in the second year of a seven-year $38.5 million ($5.5 million AAV). That's a big commitment for the Islanders to make and for a long time.

I'm not too worried about his trade protection. I can't see him placing the New York Islanders on his eight-team no-trade list. But that contract is too much for a guy who hasn't been a consistent 20+ goal threat over his NHL career.