TORONTO, ON. – Earlier this week I took a look at some of the trades Pierre Gauthier made since joining the Canadiens in 2010. Today I will finish off the rest of the transactions, and see if Montreal actually made some good deals in the process.
New York Islanders get: 2nd-round pick in 2011, Conditional 5th-round pick in 2012
Montreal Canadiens get: James Wisniewski
This was the best deal Gauthier has made up to date. Wisniewski was much better than anyone expected. If it wasn’t for the play of Wisniewski, the Canadiens would have had a hard time making it to the playoffs. Wisniewski was unable to sign with the Canadiens, and was traded to Columbus for a 7th round draft pick. So Montreal lost this deal, because they only got a 7th rounder, despite giving up a 2nd and 5th rounder to acquire him. Yes, he did well for them in his short time, but Montreal was unable to win the Stanley Cup. He has still yet to play a game for the Blue Jackets after a suspension. He has plenty of offensive capability, including the skills to play the point on the power play, something Montreal is desperately missing this year.
Anaheim gets: Maxim Lapierre
Montreal gets: Brett Festerling, 5th-round pick in 2012
This trade had a short shelf life, as every player involved in the deal was later dealt before the season was over. Maxim Lapierre was traded to Vancouver for Joel Perrault, where Lapierre went on to have an impact during the Stanley Cup playoffs. David Desharnais and Ryan White both benefited from the departure of Lapierre, getting more ice time. Festerling was traded to Atlanta for Drew MacIntyre after not playing a single game in a Habs uniform. Lapierre, on the other hand, had 4 points in 40 games.
Anaheim gets: fifth round pick in 2012
Montreal gets (Back): Paul Mara
Paul Mara returned to Montreal for a fifth round pick in 2012, previously acquired from the Ducks in the trade that sent Lapierre to the Duck Pond. The 6-04, 207 lb. physical defenseman brought strength and depth to a team lacking it due to injuries. Mara was unable to sign a contract for the second straight summer, but he would have been good to bring back. He would have most likely signed for a cheap price, somewhere around $600K-$1M. The Habs had the room ($1,307,415 in cap space), so unless they are making a bigger deal anytime soon, Mara could always be an option.
Atlanta gets : Brett Festerling
Montreal gets : Drew MacIntyre
This was the best minor league deal Gauthier has made. MacIntyre was the teams late season MVP during its playoff run that went to Game 7 of the semifinals. He had been acquired by Montreal to fix the hole in the Hamilton net, after Curtis Sanford went down with a shoulder injury. MacIntyre wanted a chance to make the team, and signed with the Buffalo Sabres, while Sanford signed in Columbus. MacIntyre didn’t make the Sabres, with Jhonas Enroth earning the backup posiston behind Ryan Miller. Sanford is backing up Steve Mason for the Blue Jackets. The two departures left Hamilton with Peter Delmas and Robert Mayer between the pipes.
Atlanta gets: Ben Maxwell, 4th-round pick in 2011
Montreal gets:Nigel Dawes, Brent Sopel
Now, if you look at it, Atlanta (Winnipeg) got the better of the deal, as Maxwell is still with the club. But last year, Hamilton, not Montreal, really benefited from this deal. Dawes had 14 goals in 19 regular season games for the Bulldogs, finishing with 41 on the year in the AHL. Dawes snapped home another nine goals in 13 playoff games. Sopel was added as defensive depth, and didn’t do anything special. Both Sopel and Dawes left for Russia, and Maxwell is most likely a fourth line center at best for the rest of his career. He had no future with the Habs.
Anaheim gets: Mathieu Carle
Montreal gets: Mark Mitera
Here’s another minor deal between these two clubs. Carle was another part of Montreal’s defensive depth who would most likely have stayed in Hamilton if it wasn’t for a trade (he isn’t leaving the AHL though). Mitera is also a minor league defenseman with some potential, but will most likely stay in the AHL for the majority of his career.
Columbus gets: Ryan Russell
Montreal gets: Mike Blunden
This was yet another minor league deal. Blunden is a fourth liner at best, looking to shake things up when hes on the ice. He adds toughness to a team lacking size and strength, but Montreal would prefer to win with skill, with top scorer Travis Moen being the biggest full time forward on the Habs (6’2, 215 pounds). Russell joined his brother, Kris, in Columbus, a team lacking forward depth. He played 65 games with the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs in 2010-11, recording 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists).
Phoennix gets: Brock Trotter, 2012 seventh-round draft pick.
Montreal gets: Petteri Nokelainen, Garrett Stafford
A potential “BIG SHAKE UP” to the Habs lineup was rumored last Sunday, getting everyone excited. When this was the deal announced, everyone was dissapointed. Nokelainen will be occupying the fourth line center position for the Canadiens, while Stafford sits in the minors. 25-year-old Nokelainen has one assist in five games with the Coyotes this season. There is always the possibility that he may return to Europe each summer, just like he did for the 2010-2011 season. Stafford is a career minor leaguer with only seven games of NHL experience.
Alright, so did Montreal get better with these deals? Let’s see.
(BASED ON LAST YEARS STATS)
Sopel, Nokelainen, Stafford, Blunden, Mitera, Sopel, Dawes, MacIntyre, Mara, Festirling, Wisnewski, Eller, Shultz, Boyd, Ellis, Ramo, Bournival: 14G-28A-42P-0W
Trotter, Russell, Carle, Maxwell, Festerling, Lapierre, Halak, Ellis, Kostitsyn, Desjardins, O’Byrne: 25G-41A-66P-50W
There you go. Montreal lost 11 goals, 16 assists, 22 points and 50 wins. There are a few asterisks to those stats though. Ellis, Halak and Desjardins were not going to play much anyways behind Carey Price, and Desjardins would have likely been in the AHL the entire season. A lot of the players acquired were meant as depth players, who would either play a few minutes a game, or sit in the AHL. But the bad news had to be the offense. Sergei Kostitsyn, who was wanted in Montreal as much as Daniel Alfredsson is wanted in Toronto, had 50 total points last year alone, 8 more points then all the players acquired by Montreal combined.
So is Gauthier doing a good job? In terms of the AHL, yes. But where it counts, in the NHL, there has been very little gained. Sopel, Dawes, Mara, Festerling, Boyd, Ellis, MacIntyre and Wisniewski are not even with the team anymore. Ramo, Schultz, Stafford and Mitera may never play with the team. That leaves them with 3rd liner Lars Eller and fourth liners Nokelainen and Blunden.
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