For the city of Montreal, it all began with the acquisition of Paul Mara. As I wrote here last week for The Hockey Writers, any trade rumours immediately bring out every critic and his brother. Opinions fly, and discussions get heated. Quite frankly, for the sake of my Twitter thread, Monday at 15h00 est can’t come soon enough.
The early hours of today were no exception to the trade rumour mill, as it slowly spread through Habs nation that a big announcement was “imminent”. That was shortly after 1am eastern. I decided that I’d give it till 2:30 before calling it quits.
Without too much surprise, I went to bed with nothing new to report.
But while I waited for this “imminent” trade to take place, I read intently through the speculation that was floating about. What surprised me was some of the crazy thoughts that people were “reporting” as pure fact. I think it’s time to get real about what potentially could be in the mix for Pierre Gauthier over the next few hours.
First off, to think that the Habs are “actively shopping Scott Gomez …” is probably the most ludicrous thing that I’ve heard over the past few hours. Canadiens fans across Habs Nation have known since his signing, that this would be a long term contract that couldn’t be moved.
In 59 games this season, Gomez has only managed to find the back of the net on 7 occasions, and assisted in 23 other goals. He also records the second worst stat on the team as a -17. Hardly appropriate numbers for a man earning $8M this season. So pray-tell, who’s going to pick up his contract for that type of output? Not even Brian Burke is that crazy.
Let’s face the facts. Scott Gomez is going to be a Canadien at minimum, for the balance of this season – and probably half of next season too. Anything shorter than that would be a miracle.
Kostitsyn seems to be the most likely candidate for the trading block. Despite the fact that he’s on target to post better numbers this season over last (read more about AK, by the numbers, in this post), his seemingly lazy play as of late has not earned him much love in Montreal. If the Habs are looking to get value from the Belarusian, it would seem now is the time to try and make it happen.
The current rumour has it that the Habs are in negotiation with the Predators as I write this; potentially reuniting Andrei with younger brother Sergei in Nashville. This of course, just like all other talk flying through the air, is completely unconfirmed.
And what of potential players that may be coming to Montreal in return? Names like Ales Hemsky, Dustin Penner (Edmonton Oilers), as well as Chris Phillips (Ottawa Senators), and Brian McCabe (Florida Panthers) have all been floating out there.
In my opinion, you can forget all of those names being in a Canadiens jersey by Monday night. Both Oilers are still under contract, and the Edmonton organization is in no hurry to move them unless they get a substantial payoff. As far as Phillips and McCabe go, both players seem to want to stay within their organizations, and with Phillips NTC – he clearly will have the final say.
So where does that leave us? Pretty much where we began at 1am this morning. There is no doubt that Gauthier is shopping, and working hard to make something come together, but what that will involve – nobody knows.
Don’t get me wrong – I like speculation. But I like intelligent speculation. So let’s stop with the Gomez trade talk. In the meantime, I have to get back to Twitter. God only knows who people have coming and going, and I could use a good laugh!