The Montreal Canadiens, concerned by the demonstrated inadequacies of their defensive corps, are renewing their efforts to obtain defenseman Robert Picard from the Washington Capitals.
Washington General Manager Max McNab has suggested they shop elsewhere, however, and has placed Picard in an untouchable status.
"He has had only two years and we don't know what he can do, how good he can be," McNab said. "If he had played five or six years and had leveled off, it would be different. But we can't give him up at this stage of his career."
Another Montreal trading target is Colorado, which holds the No. 1 selection in the June amateur draft. The Canadiens would like to acquire that pick to select Rob Ramage, and all-star Defenseman this year with Birmingham of the World Hockey Association.
For years, defense has been Montreal's strong point. However, 31-year-old Guy Lapointe, presently out with a sprained knee, had a subpar season and Serge Savard, at 33, has talked of retiring. Management is disenchanted with Rick Chartraw and Gilles Lupien, and has appeared hesitant to depend on Rod Langway and Brian Engblom in critical Moments.
McNab is here for a meeting of NHL general managers, at which there has been discussion of a possible postponement in the draft should it be necessary to include under-age players. McNab and his scouts last week compiled a list of the top 100 graduating juniors (those who attain age 20 in 1979).
If 18- and 19-year-olds must be included because of legal complications, since several have been playing in the WHA, it then would be necessary to evaluate at least 300 more players.
"If that's the case, it would be good to wait," McNab said. "There is too much at stake in this draft to rush into it without a proper rundown, particularly of the family background of each player."
McNab had discussed the vacant Hershey coaching job with Gary Green, coach of the Memorial Cup champion Peterborough Petes. Green, although only 24 years old, is coveted by many clubs and his personal sights are set higher than the American League.
"I've listened to several people, including that one (Hershey)," Green said. "I really want to coach in the National Hockey League, but I don't know whether anyone will give me the opportunity. I'm just going to go away for a few weeks and think about it."
Ron Ullyot, International League Coach of the Year with the Capitals' Port Huron affiliate, has applied for the Hershey job. The Capitals will be the sole providers for Hersbey, which drew players from both Buffalo and Washington last Season.