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Game 40: Habs/Jets

  • The Jets visit Montreal for the first time in their new form tonight.

    While most of the mainstream media is indicating that the Habs are entering a make-or-break stretch, I’m more than comfortable with declaring that the season has been broken. Its over. Its time for Montreal to make some smart management decisions for once in 20 years. Montreal trails 8th place New Jersey by 9 points having played an extra game. No matter how hard you wish – you’re not coming back from that. What makes this more frustrating is that Montreal GM Pierre Gauthier has already forfeited much of the benefit a team should derive from a losing season.

    He made an $4.25M mistake when he traded the expiring contract of Jaroslav Spacek away for Tomas Kaberle. The panic move was supposed to salvage the Habs season. That mistake may ultimately be Gauthier’s undoing as the GM of this team. While Kaberle has been adequate in his time in Montreal – I simply cannot see the logic that allowed Gauthier to make this trade.

    Every sensible person understands that in a losing season you must maximize return for expiring contracts from older veteran contracts, and lock up the corps of players who will lead you into better times. You trade for veterans when you’re looking to add to an already talented, young, playoff-bound team. Ottawa might be a great candidate.

    Montreal was not. Kaberle wasn’t going to save the season. Anyone who watches hockey could tell you that. Somehow Gauthier missed it.

    Next season Montreal has $47M tied into 13 players. That leaves $16M for 10 players – with names like Kostitsyn, Moen, Eller, Darche, White, Blunden, Nokelainen, Gill, Campoli, Subban, Emelin, and Diaz needing to be re-signed or replaced. Oh yeah, there is also the small matter of Carey Price – who will easily make twice as much money next season as he does this year.

    When you’re a team that employs Scott Gomez – you cannot afford to make mistakes with the Cap.

    Its time for the Habs to play the kids. See what you have so that you can make a smart decision this off season. No more sitting Alexei Emelin. No more benching Lars Eller. It may be a slow re-build that we’re in for – but the first step is acknowledging that your not going to be in the playoffs. Stop throwing good money at bad!!!

    Go Habs Go!!

  1. #1 Avatar37 says:
    January 4, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I have to say, I don’t think trading Spacek for Kaberle was a mistake. While Kaberle can’t fix the team single handedly, I think he’s shown he can play a valuable role on the team and that’s more than can be said for Spacek. Kaberle has stepped up his game defensively too, and while I was very skeptical when the trade occured, I have to say that it’s worked out. Kaberle was brought in to help out the PP and he did that. He also gives us an offensive defenseman who can move the puck, stabilize the blue line, and not be a liability in our own end, and he’s done that very well.

    Campoli won’t be back next year, and I’d wager neither will Gill. Gomez will either be traded or demoted, which frees up a lot of room. AK won’t be in for a raise, or much of one, and I like him at his price point. Moen can easily be replaced by White in order for us to get a real enforcer. Darche hasn’t been the same player since Pyatt left and I also presume Darche’s time is limited, and I think we’ll have enough room to re-sign everyone else on that list.

  2. #2 Mats Naslund says:
    January 4, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    How did Kaberle save the powerplay? MTL has the WORST powerplay in the league. Worse than when Kaberle joined. Even IF (and thats a big IF) Kaberle works out this season – he’s signed for 2 more after this one. Given the fact he’s been terrible for two years prior to the trade – things do not look good for the long term outlook of the remaining $8.5M he’s owed after this season. Even still, if Gauthier had simply played out this losing season, he would have $3.8M more to work with in the off-season – one which as of now will include FAs such as: Alexander Semin, Zach Parise, Christian Huselius, Ales Hamsky, Ryan Suter, Matt Carle or David Jones – all of whom would be far preferable to kaberle over the course of the next 3 years.

  3. #3 Senet1 says:
    January 4, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Well we have 25 MILLION

  4. #4 Senet1 says:
    January 4, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Well we have 19-25 MILLION that is rather non productive money tied up in about four or five players. Most of thos players would be gone if I was the GM. Gomez, Cammy, Kaberle, Gionta, are just some of our big money players who are not worth the money we have tied up in them. Three of the four would be gone by trading deadline if I could get reasonable compensation for them. Gill, Camponi and Weber would also be available before the trading deadline. Darche, Moen although have not played terrible are in different places right now but would also be available if they could be traded. AK has proven over the year that he can play and if given the right line mates he can play. I would try to negotiate a contract before the trading deadline, 3 years at 3.7M. If he takes the small raise and agrees to the dead then he is signed if not he also become available before the trading deadline.

  5. #5 Senet1 says:
    January 4, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    That give us three lines of Cole, Pacman, Desharmais. Plekanec, Leblanc Plus FA player for that line. And Hopefully Eller, AK and a FA player for the third line. Our fourth line shoulc be able to be made up of players we already have available in Hamlton or based on players signed as FA or through Trades we have made in the process of clearing out some players. To me regardless if we make the playoffs or not and it does not look that good right now these moves need to be made to improve the team in order to compete against the best teams in the league.

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