Following a tough shootout loss at home last night, the Canadiens welcome (begrudgingly) the New York Rangers to town who are fresh off of a 3-0 victory against the Maple Leafs. Marty Biron started in net (and played fantastically), which will leave the Habs to face Lundqvist. I guess Torterella wasn’t about to start Biron in Montreal after the 4-0 victory Montreal scored earlier in the season.
For Montreal fans it will be the first opportunity to see Rene Bourque in a Habs jersey. The trade that sent Michael Cammalleri back to Calgary has been a controversial one.
From an emotional stand point, if you asked me who I would rather have on the roster – Gomez, Gionta or Cammalleri – I would have picked Cammy in a heart-beat. A roster that is without Cammalleri and with Gomez is certainly not what I would call improved. Despite Cammalleri’s struggles to score this season, he has the potential to make a huge impact on a team that lacks any top line offensive talent. The team also sent the rights to Kari Ramo and a 5th round pick in the upcoming draft. People have made a big deal about losing Ramo, but the truth is – he was never going to play for the Montreal Canadiens. Carey Price is the goalie for now – and the distant future. Ramo would not leave Russia to be a back-up. So Ramo wasn’t ever going to don a Habs jersey, and unless Calgary is going to deal Kiprusoff, its unlikely he leaves Russia.
Back to Rene Bourque. He has had effective seasons for the past couple years in Calgary. His last two seasons both produced more than 50 points. And if you asked me whether I would rather pay $3.3M for 50 points or $6M I think the answer is pretty clear. However, Bourque has struggled this season and is currently on pace for just 32 points. At 30 years old, and signed until his age 34 season – Montreal has taken a gamble that this season is an anomaly.
Montreal also gains another second round pick in next season’s draft – which at this point would give them two picks in the first 10 of the second round. The opportunity to swipe another PK Subban or Max Pacioretty could be a value add in this trade.
Ultimately, my impression of the trade is that while emotionally, I had a soft spot for Cammalleri because of his post-season successes, Montreal HAD to do something to gain advantage from a losing season. Another pick and some cap space – along with a player in Bourque who could provide desperately needed size and scoring, and a junior age player on a good junior prospect in Patrick Holland is a decent haul for Cammalleri. I question whether or not Gauthier should have publicly let it be know that players were available though, because you never know what another GM may or may not have offered in terms of players and picks.