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Dallas Stars defenceman Sergei Gonchar battles with New York Rangers forward Carl Hagelin in front of Dallas Stars goalie Karl Lehtonen during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, in New York.

Jason DeCrow/The Associated Press

Welcome to the new era of impatience at the Bell Centre.

Barely 48 hours after dumping under-performing veteran Rene Bourque onto the waiver wire and banishing him to the minors, Montreal Canadiens general-manager Marc Bergevin has pulled the trigger on a trade.

Penalty-killing specialist Travis Moen, he of zero points this season, has been sent to the Dallas Stars in exchange for 40-year-old defenceman Sergei Gonchar.

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How this move makes sense for the Habs in the immediate term isn't clear. Let's speculate a little, then.

True, Moen provides negligible offence and was a healthy scratch for the playoffs and to begin the year, but he's a useful role player, a popular figure in the dressing room and he was second on the club in short-handed ice time.

Gonchar has played only three games this season for the Stars because of injury, averaging about 13 minutes per game, but he is an experienced offensive defenceman who plays the left side – it could also be the Habs see Gonchar as a solution to the club's ice-cold power play

Or perhaps it's a hedging strategy in case 21-year-old Nathan Beaulieu's development stalls.

Gonchar is of course intimately acquainted with Habs stalwart Andrei Markov and fellow Russian Alexei Emelin, who has lately been bumped off a pairing with top Montreal defenceman P.K. Subban, and the Habs will be acutely aware of the damage he wrought at the Bell Centre as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators.

It may be that Montreal sees Gonchar as a good fit alongside Subban; it's more plausible he is viewed as a stabilizing presence for righties Tom Gilbert (who has been effective with Beaulieu) and Mike Weaver, who is currently paired with Emelin, a player who has not been good in the season's early going.

Having a former Stanley Cup champion, even one who is in decline, join an already-full blueline will doubtless focus the minds of the players currently occupying it.

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Or perhaps the most obvious explanation is the correct one.

The last time Bergevin swung a deal with Dallas it was to offload winger Erik Cole in exchange for forward Michael Ryder – Cole had contract term left, Ryder did not (he walked the following summer).

Moen has a year left at $1.85-million, a fairly pricey ticket for a 32-year-old plugger given Montreal's cap picture – youngsters Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, Jarred Tinordi, Michael Bournival and Beaulieu are all due new contracts next summer.

By then, Gonchar's $5-million per season salary ($400,000 of which is being retained by Dallas for 2014-15) will have run out.

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