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Trade Deadline: What's next for surprising Canadiens?

by Adam Kimelman

One of the surprise teams of the 2012-13 NHL season has been the Montreal Canadiens, who head into their game Saturday at the New Jersey Devils (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, CBC) leading the Eastern Conference standings.

It's a long way from last season, when the Canadiens finished 15th in the conference; entering this season they weren't predicted to finish much higher.

As the April 3 NHL trade deadline approaches, the decisions only get tougher for Canadiens first-year general manager Marc Bergevin. Does he stay with the team that's gotten the Canadiens this far? Or does he look to add pieces for a Stanley Cup Playoffs run?

"I think it's a constant revisiting of how you can improve your team on a daily basis," Canadiens assistant GM Larry Carriere told "That's something we started when Marc came in and it's something we do every day."

The Canadiens already have made one move, acquiring forward Michael Ryder from the Dallas Stars in exchange for Erik Cole, but a back injury will keep Ryder out of at least their game Saturday. Could they look to make a big splash by adding a high-end forward? Or would it make more sense to pursue a strong faceoff man to improve their 48.0-percent team success rate, which is 23rd in the League? Or is there another area management is considering upgrading?

"I don't think there's one particular area," Carriere said. "We have a lot of good, young players and we've got some very good veterans and you just try to look at every opportunity that comes up. You look at it and you say can this help us be consistent with what we want to do here."


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