Everyone in the hockey world is aware of this by now, but Rangers GM Glen Sather may have pulled off the fleece of the year.
Not only did he get someone to take Scott Gomez and his $7.5 million cap hit, but he actually got something in return.
Gomez, along with Tom Pyatt and Mike Busto, went to Montreal in exchange for Christopher Higgins, Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko.
For the Rangers, this is a huge score. Dumping Gomez and his deal would have been a coup, but picking up a promising prospect (McDonagh) in addition to a solid, younger forward in Higgins is a flat-out steal.
This move also frees the Rangers up to take a run at Ottawa forward Dany Heatley who has been looking to flee the Senators for some time. It is rumored either Higgins or McDonagh could be apart of a package going to Ottawa.
From Montreal's standpoint, this is flat puzzling. Giving up Higgins isn't the big deal; the guy topped out at 29 goals and is a second-liner at best. But absorbing Gomez's huge deal without giving him a pure goal scorer to pass to is just ridiculous.
That money could have been used towards the boatload of restricted/unrestricted free agents the Habs have (Alexei Kovalev and Mike Komisarek headline the list). Not only that, but it doesn't address a need. The Habs, like half the hockey world, needed a big, tough pivot. Not the diminutive, underachieving Gomez.
Adding McDonagh, considered by some to be a top prospect in the Canadiens system, isn't a huge deal at the moment. The Habs may have given up on him, which is fine, but the fact that they took on a huge deal and had to give up a prospect is unbelievable.
If Sather can spin this into Dany Heatley, he's a front-runner for Executive if of the Year for 2009/10. If he can get rid of Wade Redden and his awful deal, he's the clearcut winner.
Through all of this, it's clear things are troubling in Montreal. Guy Carbonneau was canned last season and if terrible deals like this become common place, Gainey may find himself submitting his resume in the near future.
Good luck to you Habs fans. If this is any indication, it's going to be a rough ride.
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