So for the first time in a while the Montreal Canadiens made the biggest trade and deal splash of any of the 30 NHL teams. Bob Gainey started by trading a 2008 first round pick (25thoverall) and a second round pick in 2009 for Calgary Flames forward and Quebec native Alex Tanguay and a 2008 fifth round pick.
The deal didn’t even involve Michael Ryder or Alex Kovalev as earlier expected. This will finally end all rumors of Tanguay heading to the Habs as the deal is done and finalized.
In my opinion this is an excellent deal, especially since the Canadiens were only placed at 25thoverall and I’m sure they can lose one first rounder for once as they are all ready stocked with promising prospects, thanks to Trevor Timmins. The Canadiens now find someone to replace Michael Ryder who we now know for sure won’t be back. The only concern is Alex Tanguay’s hefty 5.25 million dollar contract. But thankfully it only has one year remaining on it. This also looks to be a long term move because it sounds as if Gainey plans to resign him once his contract has expired.
"He was on our list of coveted players and was always available. At 28 years of age, I think could be on our team for several seasons." Gainey told RDS.
Bob Gainey also some how got permission from Toronto Maple Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher to talk to soon to be UFA Mats Sundin. Gainey has briefly talked to Sundin about coming to the Canadiens.
No one including J.P. Barry who is Sundin’s agent knows whether or not Sundin even plans to play in the NHL next season. It is expected Gainey and maybe even the Canadiens owner George Gillett Jr. are to fly to Sweden sometime this week to talk to Sundin personally. If not there will be plenty of phone conversations as Gainey looks to add another veteran to his team.
“Acquiring an experienced impact player like Sundin will not only help our younger players, but also allow us to better compete with the top teams in the league,” explained Gainey. “We’ve been patient and built our team through the draft. We’ve reached a point where it’s time to bring in the right veteran players to get us where we want to be.”
Most speculate if the Canadiens do manage to sign Mats before July 1stthe Leafs would be sent some compensation. What that compensation is no one knows for sure. Some believe it may be a first round pick in 2009, others say a second rounder in 2009 and Mikhail Grabovski.
But it’s also been rumored it may be winger Chris Higgins. In my opinion trading and up and coming talent like Higgins isn’t worth it for a 37 year old Sundin. But if any of those other deals can be made I would love to see an experienced and full hearted player like Sundin join this already talented squad. Some speculate the Canadiens may work out a deal with Sundin and then sign it on July 1st so they do not have to compensate the Leafs. Imagine Mats Sundin in a Canadiens jersey… especially from a Leafs fans stand point.
But if Sundin does sign in Montrealdon’t expect Mark Streit to be back, they’ll be out of cap room especially after signing RFA’s like Andrei Kostitsyn, Josh Gorges and Ryan O’Byrne. The Canadiens also need a back up goalie to accommodate starter Carey Price.
Gainey may have to look to ship out Mathieu Dandenault or buy him out although Gainey has already revealed he won’t be buying him out. The Canadiens have about 42 million commited to 16 roster players, and that leaves Gainey 12 million to fool with. It looks to be a busy off-season as Gainey has just begun to spice it up.
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