Times are tough over on the dark side.
Montreal Canadiens are struggling spectacularly. Carey Price is injured. The Habs can't score. Right now, they are the worst team in the NHL by a distance and a half.
But surely nobody ever thought that it would be so bad that the phrase "trade PK Subban" would actually get mentioned or, nevertheless, discuss.
Except today, it did.
On the TSN690 morning show today, RDS' Francois Gagnon went into great detail about how, contrary to popular wisdom, PK Subban is no longer untouchable as a Montreal Canadien.
Gagnon threw this grenade into a discussion on how to fix the Habs problems this morning...
"The big question for me - what do you do with PK Subban? He's a superstar on his own. But he IS on his own. Do you think you could trade PK Subban? If you would be able to do something involving PK Subban that would bring in an elite center - would I do it?
I think right now, do you really put Subban as an untouchable? Yes, but...You need to see what you can get."
Gagnon then goes on to argue that "Wayne Gretzky was traded. You need to see what you can get!".
So...let's just consider this. At least one member of the Montreal media is arguing that PK Subban should be a player dangled out there on trade hooks...just to see what happens.
Predictably, this has already caused violent reaction in Montreal. Marc Dumont over at Habs EOTP has made a passionate case explaining in great detail just why this is one of the most illogical moves ever discussed
But logic, as anyone who's watched the NHL for any length of time knows, is often in short supply in the big Canadian markets. Particularly when the team is panicking.
And, of course, Boston a) needs an elite defenceman and b) loves putting one over Montreal.
So...let's go hunting.
Firstly, if you're a Boston Bruin fan and you're even thinking of claiming that you wouldn't turn cartwheels of joy down Causeway if PK Subban became a Boston Bruin - you're lying to yourself. There is no team in the NHL, however much they hate their rivals, that doesn't covet at least one of their stars.
That reason alone is one that should see Don Sweeney pick up the phone to Marc Bergevin and at least fire the shot across the bows of "Marc...if you're ever seriously considering putting PK on the trade block...we need to have a conversation".
Granted, it would probably see the phone slammed down, probably with a whole string of Quebecois swear words ending in "tabernac"...but again, let's say Bergevin called back. this trade deadline. Or, more likely, let's say Don Sweeney goes full Godfather and plans to make an offer Bergevin could not refuse.
What do the Bruins do then?
Let's use that TSN conversation as a guide. The argument is that Habs need an "elite center" for Max Pacioretty.
Luckily, center is an area the Bruins are loaded at.
Don't worry, I'm not going to even consider suggesting Quebec native Patrice Bergeron is a possibility here. There are some prices that are too high, even for PK Subban.
But what about David Krejci? Ryan Spooner is developing beautifully into a top-six center who could plug in at that spot, the farm system is loaded with talent up the middle...and plus, there's going to need to be one hell of a contract in this deal from B's side just to make the money work.
Again - think about this. If you had to give up David Krejci as part of a deal to get PK Subban - would you really say "nope"?
Yes, David Krejci is a hell of a player. But in a hypothetical deal of this magnitude-is Krejci an untouchable?
I don't think he is.
But let's be honest here - Krejci for Subban is never a deal that is going to even come close to getting done. Boston need to put more into the pot. A lot more.
We are talking a nuclear trade, after all. Superstars get traded for superstars, not spare parts (well, unless you're Toronto)
So...let's take a look at the sweeteners.
Firstly, the Habs are going to want someone they can claim could step into Subban's role. Unfortunately for the Bruins, there's no D-man on this team who they'd willingly give up who could step into that role...probably not even close.
However, down in the prospect system, there's Jéremy Lauzon. A Quebec native, with reckless attacking talent. A player who the Bruins themselves are very high on indeed. The B's, however, have an embarrassment of riches on the blue, too, including their own local heroes in players like Matt Grzezlcyk and Rob O'Gara. They can afford to throw Lauzon into the pot.
Besides...have we forgotten who we're trading for here? It's PK SUBBAN.
The prospect possibilities keep piling up here. Jake DeBrusk. Jesse Gabrielle. Zack Senyshyn. These are all players who would possibly sting when being lost from the B's prospect system...but when you look at the return coming the other way, that sting suddenly looks worth it.
Besides-this is a prospect system that can take the cut and heal itself almost Terminator style. The Bruins talent pipeline is full of possibilities...it's worth giving some of those up for one of the surest things in hockey-even to a deadly rival.
Then we move to the future. Picks.
How many picks do you think the Boston Bruins have in the 2016 draft?
Ten. At the moment five of them are in the top 100. Two are in the first round. One (the SJ pick) has a legitimate, if outside right now, chance of being a top-ten or even top five pick.
Would you give up an outside chance at Patrik Laine or Jesse Puljujarvi (or even Auston Matthews) as part of a guaranteed Subban?
You probably would, wouldn't you? Especially with backup plans like future college FA Ahti Oksanen sitting out there ready to be aggressively pursued.
So, let's throw in one of those first rounders. Now, we're starting to build a package, you'd think.
The question is, though...how far do you go? How much is too much?
For someone like PK Subban, probably very little. This is a once-in-a-generation player the Habs media is seriously talking about their GM dangling out there. For them, you chase and you pursue the living hell out of them.
Loui Eriksson is floating there too...yes, that's an expiring contract...but it's well worth throwing him in there as well if we're really loading up the pot. Again - would you seriously not if you heard "PK Subban offers - we're listening/nous allons écouter"
Again...this is all speculation, and the chances that Marc Bergevin will even consider dangling the name of PK Subban over the feeding frenzy that would be the other 29 NHL GMs are minimal.
But if there is the slightest chance - even the SMALLEST of chances, then Don Sweeney and Cam Neely should be loading up the big guns.
An offer of David Krejci, Jeremy Lauzon and a high pick would probably not get the job done. But it might start the conversation.
And that's a conversation that Boston can't afford not to have.
After all - is there an NHL team that wouldn't at least consider pulling that trigger - at (almost) any price?