With the NHL Trade Deadline less than a month away, there have been multiple rumours floating around about potential trades involving the St. Louis Blues and one of the most mentioned names in those rumours is Ben Chiarot of the Montreal Canadiens.
It has been rumoured that the Blues are looking to bolster their defence and potentially find someone to play alongside Colton Parayko, but is Chiarot really the best option for the team right now?
Chiarot is 30 years old and set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season as he is in the final year of a three-year, $10.5 million contract ($3.5 million average annual value.) However, the Blues currently have only $175,000 of cap space available so they would have to give up at least one if not two, roster players to fit him in under the cap.
The current ask for Chiarot is believed to be a first-round pick or an equally valued prospect and several lower-round draft picks.
There are several other teams also inquiring about Chiarot. In the Eastern Conference, the Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Boston Bruins are all believed to have called about him and in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames, along with the Blues, have all been identified as contenders for Chiarot come the trade deadline.
“You name a playoff contender; I believe they’ve phoned. The likes of Florida, Boston, the New York Rangers, St. Louis, among others. The Flames could circle back on Chiarot at some point,”
Elliotte Friedman also brought up Chiarot on the February 19th Hockey Night In Canada broadcast but mentioned just the Blues as a potential landing spot for Chiarot.
Chiarot leads the Canadiens in time on ice with an average of 23:17 per game and currently has 5 goals, and 7 assists for 12 points in 48 games played.
The 6’3″, 230lb defenseman was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the 4th round (119th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and made his professional debut in the American Hockey League with the Chicago Wolves during the 2009-10 season before signing an entry-level contract with the Thrashers on March 16, 2011.
Three months later, on June 21, 2011, the Thrashers franchise was sold and moved to Winnipeg where they were rebranded as the second incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets.
At the end of his entry-level contract, Chiarot signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Jets on July 23, 2014.
Chiarot scored his first NHL goal in a 5-1 victory over the Maple Leafs on January 3, 2015.
After recording eight points in 40 games played during the 2014-15 season, the Jets rewarded Chiarot with a new two-year, $1.7 million contract extension.
After spending the first eight seasons of his career in the Thrashers/Jets franchise, Chiarot decided to leave as a free agent and signed with the Canadiens on July 4, 2019.
Chiarot scored his first goal as a Canadien on October 9, 2019, in a 5-4 overtime loss against the Buffalo Sabres.
Over the course of his time with the Canadiens, Chiarot’s role has increased and he was seen as a prominent part of the Canadiens’ defence corps entering the 2021-22 season but he has since fallen out of favour with many Canadiens fans as he, like most of the team, has struggled this season.
However, part of the blame can also be placed on the Canadiens coaching staff as they have tried to push Chiarot into a bigger role than he is able to handle, including giving him regular shifts on the power play for extended periods of time.
Montreal Canadiens GM Kent Hughes has made it clear that Chiarot will most likely be wearing a different jersey after the March 21 trade deadline, now it’s just a matter of which team is willing to pay the price that the Canadiens are asking for Chiarot.
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