The 2013-14 Montreal Canadiens win enough games to stay competitive and make the playoffs, but when you watch them play you're constantly left asking yourself how it's all possible. They're just not that impressive under the microscope.
In other words, they are your typical Michel Therrien-coached team. Ugly, usually chasing the play in their own end of the ice, but somehow, against the odds, still churning out wins. Therrien is the type of coach who will get a team to a certain point before it reaches its ceiling, and you almost have to wonder if the Canadiens have reached that point with him.
Either way, they should certainly still be a playoff team, which means general manager Marc Bergevin will be doing some shopping at the deadline. What will be on his list?
With Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher and even the occasional contribution from Brian Gionta and Daniel Briere, the Canadiens have a solid group of players who can put the puck in the net. But they could still use a little more.
Rene Bourque has been a complete zero at times this season from an offensive perspective (just eight goals through the first 49 games), and their bottom six could use a little work around the edges, particularly on the left side.
Full Deadline Coverage
Full Deadline Coverage
Is there a top-four defensemen to be had?
Probably not, but if they can find one it would certainly go a long way toward helping out Carey Price in net. P.K. Subban is a star but has had his problems this season and seems to find himself in Michel Therrien's doghouse from time to time. Once you get past him, however, there are some weak links on the blue line.
Andrei Markov was once an outstanding defenseman and power-play quarterback, but age and knee problems seem to have taken their toll and he at times can be a liability. Douglas Murray, meanwhile, is always a liability.
The problem Montreal is going to run into is the same one that every team looking for defense is going to run into. There just aren't that many good options available, unless you want to give up a first-round pick for Andrew MacDonald, which doesn't seem like a great investment.
The other option, if you're willing to take on a big contract and probably pay a hefty price, is to give the Buffalo Sabres a call about Christian Ehrhoff. The Canadiens have the cap space to swing such a deal if they were inclined to do so.