Every rumour mill  and blogger site has it’s own idea of what the Canadiens’ player-needs are going forward.  Because of the Josh Gorges and Andrei Markov injuries, most of the speculation has centred around defensemen.   

From New York today, something new.   Centre Jason Arnott of the New Jersey Devils.

The Devils have no chance of making the playoffs. They’re twenty points out of eighth spot even with their recent 6-0-1 streak. Arnott is going to be an unrestricted free agent on July first. With that, is Devils GM Lou Lamoriello ready to deal?  And, if so, are the Canadiens a player?  Apparently so. 

This from Mark Everson’s column in the New York Post today –

Jason Arnott is an obvious candidate to rent out as an upcoming unrestricted free agent, and when general manager Lou Lamoriello and his fellow governers gather for the All-Star week in Raleigh, N.C., talk will surely intensify. Montreal is clearly interested, and Canadiens G.M. Pierre Gauthier and a Habs scout double-teamed the Devils 5-2 triumph over the Panthers in Newark on Sunday.

Gauthier would not confirm nor deny any interest, but did note pointedly GM’s should never lie to the press. Otherwise the Caps are said to be interested, and even Nashville, which traded Arnott as captain to the Devils last summer, may be looking, regardless of any resentments from it’s front office.”

Considering the fact that playoff success this year probably will go through Philadelphia, I must say, this is tempting, if only because Arnott is listed at 6’5” and 220 pounds,something that would address the Canadiens deficit in up-front size.

But at age 36, his production has diminished from 33 goals three years ago as Nashville Predators team captain, to 19 last season to only twelve this year in forty-six games. And he’s minus-10, although, like James Wisniewski’s minus-18 with the Islanders, it’s one of those statistics you tend to throw out  considering the incompetency of the team as a whole.  Team issues, under coach John McLean,  may also explain that sixteen game goalless streak in late December-early January.    There’s also the matter of a no-trade clause in his contract, although Arnott has said he would waive it for the opportunity to go to a playoff team.

Arnott has about 1.5 million dollars left in the final year of his five year 4.5 million dollar annual contract,  something the Canadiens have cap room to absorb. But then there’s always the question about what the Canadiens would have to give up in return. 

Good rumour though.  Not the last one we’ll hear in the thirty-four days leading up to the trade deadline.