At this point, defenseman Ben Chiarot is more valuable to the Montreal Canadiens as commercial bait. This reflects more the disappointing season of the Habs overall than that of Chiarot in particular. In fact, all in all, Chiarot has had a pretty good one so far, at least relatively speaking.
Ultimately, it was a rebound campaign for Chiarot, having been limited to just 41 games in 2020-21 due to a broken hand. After scoring a career-high nine goals and 21 points in his debut 2019-20 season with the Canadiens, he scored just one goal and six assists the following season. While his five points so far is a fairly modest amount, he ranks second on the team in scoring among defensemen and first in goals, with his four putting him in the top 10 in the league. For all intents and purposes, he killed him. Credit where it is due.
Trade Chiarot the right way for Canadians
About to reaching 100 career points in over 430 games played, Chiarot will never be mistaken for an offensive dynamo. Sure, he’s been contributing on the other end of the ice, but his strength has generally been playing end-to-end defensively, which he’s done pretty well so far this season.
Pair his performance this season with his playoff exploits, when he was leading the Canadiens in ice time it is becoming more and more evident that the Habs can land a good place in the commercial market. There’s no real reason they couldn’t test it either.
Chiarot is already 30 years old and will be an unrestricted free agent. Any subsequent deal would push the boundaries of any respectably estimated limit of its premium. Make money now by trading Chiarot or risk being battled with another defender under the fleet of feet longer than necessary, with the Canadiens already having Joel Edmundson and David Savard to fill the role.
Related: Canadian Defenders Most Likely To Team With Chiarot
It’s a shame to have to say it due to his impressive career, but the Canadiens also dodged a part of a ball, being able to put Shea Weber on the long-term injured reserve. Of course, a healthy Weber would likely benefit the Habs right now from a leadership standpoint, but ultimately, even in perfect health, the Habs would struggle to qualify for the playoffs, ironically based mostly on the team defense construction.
Savard Deal a highlight of past trading deadlines
However, if you’re already on your way to the playoffs, it wouldn’t necessarily hurt to add another defenseman like Chiarot, at the very least as an insurance policy. Considering Chiarot’s impact in the last playoffs, it would be hard to turn down the opportunity to acquire him. Defenders obviously change teams every year. Their prices vary, however.
For example, on the last trade deadline, Jordie Benn moved from the Vancouver Canucks to the Winnipeg Jets for a sixth round pick. Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins have secured ex-Hab Mike Reilly of the Ottawa Senators for a third-round pick, which translates into the approximate median price of a deep defenseman. As Habs fans will probably remember, the Tampa Bay Lightning gave up first, third and fourth round picks for current Hab Savard (and technically Brian Lashoff), but that’s by no means the norm. .
Going back a year later, in 2020, Brady Skjei offered the New York Rangers a first-round pick for the Carolina Hurricanes. Alec Martinez meanwhile picked up two second-round picks from the Los Angeles Kings (via the Vegas Golden Knights). However, we’re talking about two offensive-minded defenders, the former being one of his top picks in the No. 28 overall in 2012. Neither description quite matches Chiarot.
Surprisingly, one of the best returns for a defenseman went to the Canadiens when they traded Marco Scandella to the St. Louis Blues for a second round pick and conditional fourth round. Scandella had been acquired by the Canadians months earlier from the Buffalo Sabers for a fourth-round pick, suggesting the event may spark unexpected inflation. So there is hope for the Habs.
There is more, in the sense that Scandella has more in common with Chiarot than Skjei or Martinez. In fact, all things considered, given the nature of the role Chiarot has played with the Canadiens this season (23:02 per game in second place, compared to 17:38 for Scandella in 2020), he’s unquestionably more valuable, and teams looking for a tough, defensive defender who can add odd points would probably agree. However, there is no guarantee.
Hopefully a first, but expect a third for Chiarot
It depends on the market which, forget the trade deadline, has not yet fully taken shape this season in a world of flat-cap. Although Christian Dvorak securing the Arizona Coyotes’ first and second picks in the past offseason is certainly a good sign. It all depends on whether the teams the Canadiens deal with are as desperate as they or they were to replace Jesperi Kotkaniemi / Philip Danault in the middle.
Again, you’re probably looking at the third-round pick the Chicago Blackhawks got from the Calgary Flames for Nikita Zadorov last summer as a conservative guess. Likewise, the Winnipeg Jets got Nate Schmidt from the Vancouver Canucks for the same price.
Nothing higher and general manager Marc Bergevin will have done a good job here. However, anything less, including a misguided decision to retain Chiarot, will end with an obvious missed opportunity. After reaching the last playoffs of the Stanley Cup Final, the Habs and their fans are certainly fed up with the vibe this season.
Expectations on the approach were of course lowered to the point that it made sense to deal with Chiarot as early as possible to capitalize on his strong playoff performance. He’s pleasantly surprised in that regard, but not enough for the Habs to delude themselves into thinking he’s going to help them win. He is not. He’s not Superman. Let him help someone else no matter what comes up. It might be a first, but in the end, get all you can for him and move on. Only then can you accept the need to leave this list as a whole. Clinging to the past is of no use in this scenario. Ditto for hanging on to Chiarot.
After 10 years of hockey writing, Ryan has decided now is the time to join The Hockey Writers for the 2014-15 season. Having appeared as a guest on shows such as CBC Radio One’s Daybreak, Ryan has written for publications such as the Montreal Gazette and Bleacher Report and has worked for the NHL itself and for his hometown, the Montreal Canadiens. . He currently writes about everything Habs related to THW, covering the 2021 Stanley Cup Final as a certified member of the press will be a career highlight.