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!!