The Montreal Canadians arguably made one of the biggest stories during the 2008 NHL draft in Ottawa last week and they didn't even have a pick in the first round. Why? Because they traded their first round, pick (25th overall) to the Calgary Flames for French Canadian forward Alex Tanguay.
While some "pundits" feel that this is not one of Gainey's best moves, yours truly feels that this is an excellent transaction that will benefit both parties for years to come. Let's get a few facts straight because, while the news has been generally received in a positive manner, there are those that walk among us who pretend to be Habs fans but always want an escape clause when it comes to embracing a new player via a trade.
Not that you can blame them, seeing our track record in the trades department, but I digress. In this particular case, I believe we are the strong winners here. First, what did we give up to get Tanguay? This year's 1st round pick (Greg Nemisz) and next year's 2nd round pick that was received from the Washington Capitals when we unloaded future UFA Cristobal Huet.
In my opinion, this is much better than the scenario we might have seen if last year's rumors were, in fact, true. It could have either been a combination of Michael Ryder (so what?) and either a Plekanec or Higgins type player (ouch.) or a straight exchange with Alex Kovalev who Keenan loved coaching. Sometimes, it's the trades you don't make!
Now, we have Tanguay and get to potentially keep all the above players... except for Ryder. Some will argue that Tanguay is done and his best years are behind him. Let's put this into perspective shall we? Since the 2000-2001 season, with the exception of 01-02 and last year, he has seen years ranging from 67 to 81 points.
81 was in the 2006-2007 season. Last year, he ended the season, a season full of trade speculation and uncertain future, with 58 points. Had he been playing for the Habs and finished with the same totals, he would have been tied for 4th place on our scoring list just ahead of Saku Koivu and Andrei Kostitsyn.
Did I mention that he also finished last season with a plus minus of +15? Ryder, are you paying attention? In addition, it would seem that there is no love lost between Tanguay and Keenan who was hell bent on ensuring that he had Tanguay see almost no PP time and had him generally in a defensive role for most of the season.
This is a winger who likes to move the puck and either make that seeing eye pass or receive one to put it in the back of the net. Could his "mere" 58-point season be the result of a lack of motivation? Time will tell. Lastly, let us not forget two important reasons why it's a good thing that Alex Tanguay is coming to Montreal.
First, in order for this trade to even have happened, he had to waive his no trade clause, so already, that means he was not totally disgusted by the allure of Montreal. But Perhaps the most important reason why I feel Tanguay will be a good fit in Montreal is because he was quoted as saying that his wife had just had a child and they wanted to be close to home.
Lord knows that it's not necessarily the players, but the players' wives who ultimately decide where their hubbies end up playing. Tanguay’s situation is not the exception to the rule, you can bet that he has vested interest in making sure he brings his lunch pail to the Bell Centre every game or there will be 21,273 critics to remind him which city he plays for; and that's just the media!
As for the experts who say he is old and his best years are behind him, let's not forget, Alex Tanguay is 28, not 38...that would be Mats Sundin's age.