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Trade Coverage

Canadiens trade for Shaw, deal Eller

Capitals acquire forward, Blackhawks get draft picks

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Staff Writer

BUFFALO -- The potential of putting in-your-face forwards Andrew Shaw and Brendan Gallagher on the same line became a tantalizing option for Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien on Friday.

"I wouldn't want to be a defenseman playing against them," Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said.

Someone might have to be if Therrien wants to try that experiment. Bergevin put the cards in his hands by acquiring Shaw from the Chicago Blackhawks in a trade for two second-round draft picks in the 2016 NHL Draft, which continues at First Niagara Center on Saturday (10 a.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVA Sports 2).

Shaw, who had 34 points in 78 games this season, is a restricted free agent, but Bergevin said he's been in touch with his agent, Pat Brisson, and plans to start negotiating a new contract for him shortly.

Bergevin cleared some salary-cap room to sign Shaw, and recouped future draft selections by trading center Lars Eller to the Washington Capitals for second-round picks in 2017 and 2018.

The Canadiens don't have any second-round picks on Saturday but have two in 2017 and three in 2018.

"With three picks in the second round you could parlay that maybe into a first," Bergevin said. "They give us some options. Yeah, they're pushed back, but that's just the way it is."

Washington general manager Brian MacLellan said he had been targeting Eller for the past year. He envisions him as their third-line center behind Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Eller, 27, is signed for two more seasons with a $3.5 million cap charge, according to generalfanager.com.

"We're trying to fill a third-line center with a good two-way guy that can give us a little offense and play defense, a little [penalty kill] and probably a little power play too," MacLellan said. "We identified him probably over a year ago. He was on our list this year. We kept trying and making calls to see if we could trade for him. And it happened [Friday]."

Bergevin said he feels Philip Danault, who he acquired from Chicago this season, can replace Eller. He also said he thinks Eller can find a fit in Washington that he struggled to find in Montreal. 

Eller had 13 goals and 26 points in 79 games this season, and had 71 goals and 154 points in 435 games with Montreal in the past six seasons.

"I know Lars, he's a great kid, and I think sometimes he's his worst enemy, too hard on himself," Bergevin said. "He's going to a place in Washington, they have a really solid, deep team and maybe he won't put as much pressure. But I think it's a great for him and the Capitals."

Bergevin, though, particularly thinks Shaw can be a force in Montreal the same way Gallagher already is. The only difference is Shaw is a two-time Stanley Cup champion and Bergevin hopes he can help the Canadiens win their first Stanley Cup since 1993.

"They're guys that will drag you into the fight with them," Bergevin said. "I know our fans love Brendan Gallagher and I know they're going to feel the same way about [Shaw]."

Bergevin has felt that way about Shaw since he scouted him as a member of the Blackhawks hockey operations staff. He recalled seeing Shaw playing for Owen Sound of the Ontario Hockey League and fighting a player bigger than him.

He thinks it was former Canadiens defenseman Jarred Tinordi, who is 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds. Shaw is 5-foot-11 and 179 pounds.

"It's not the fight, but I'm like, 'This guy is here to play, he's here to win,'" Bergevin said. "Obviously his track record followed with the Blackhawks because he was a big part of their team when they won those Cups."

Shaw, 25 on July 20, has 16 goals and 35 points in 67 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He scored five goals in each of the championship runs he was a part of (2013 and 2015), including a triple-overtime goal in a 4-3 win against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.

"He's scored some big playoff goals and he brings you into the fight," Bergevin said. "He drags his teammates into the fight.

"You notice him out there. He's not fun to play against."

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman felt compelled to trade Shaw because he needed more wiggle room under the $73 million salary cap, and didn't think he'd be able to have that and re-sign Shaw.

"We have enough cap room now," Bowman said. "Whether we make moves to make moves remains to be seen, but we don't have a salary-cap problem now."

Bowman said it was difficult to part with Shaw.

"We love what Andrew's brought to the team," Bowman said. "We certainly wish him the best. He gave his heart and soul to the team. Sometimes those are tough decisions you have to make, but we're excited about where we're going."

Bowman is particularly excited about Saturday because he has three picks in the second round, including the selection Chicago got from the Carolina Hurricanes last week in the trade that involved forwards Teuvo Teravainen and Bryan Bickell. The Blackhawks have 10 picks overall.

"You have to replenish players, bring young guys in, and to do that you have to have draft picks," Bowman said. "We've got 10 picks now. It wasn't looking so bright just last week. We only had seven picks. We've added a lot of high picks and I think we're on the right path."

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