So I go out camping for the weekend (I'm back in briefly and heading back out here soon) and lo and behold huge hockey news breaks. I should have figured.
I have a number of people asking me via email and Twitter to comment on Jaroslav Halak trade. So here goes:
- It seems inconceivable that Montreal, of all teams, would trade their new found playoff hero. After all, they would never have traded Ken Dryden in 1971 or Patrick Roy in 1986 or for that matter Steve Penney in 1986 or maybe even Jose Theodore in 2002.
- But it is not a complete surprise. Two schools of thought here - trade him now because his value will never be higher, or trade him because he is unsignable in Montreal.
- Both schools of thought fail here though. High trade value? Montreal fans would disagree that getting a couple of prospects in exchange for the hottest goalie in hockey is a just return. Granted he was traded unsigned, but weren't the Flyers offering Jeff Carter in exchange for Halak just a few short months ago? On the other front, Halak should be a signable asset. GM Pierre Gauthier suggested Halak would net around $4M for next season via arbitration this summer.
- Apparently we can not even suggest it was due to long term contract negotiations, as apparently he and the Habs have not talked contract since their playoff season ended. Bob McKenzie suggests that means the Habs had every intention of moving Halak and keeping Carey Price even before the final whistle went on their playoff run.
- The only way Montreal comes out of this looking good in the short term - Halak signs with the KHL and the Habs claim they knew he was leaving. Longer term? Halak is the next Steve Penney or even Jose Theodore.
- This puts even more pressure on Carey Price now. Questions still remain about whether he can handle the Montreal pressure-cooker already. If Price falters this season, there may be another riot in Montreal.
- Amazingly, St. Louis apparently had no contract talks with Halak prior to completing the deal. Taking Halak without a contract keeps the price down, but that is very much a risky tactic