June 19, 2010

Puck On The 'Net: Habs Fans Sing The Blues

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


TS said...

The fact that Halak is unsigned aside, though, what do you think of the trade from the St. Louis perspective?

TS said...

Here's an interesting take on the trade.
I also found the general G discussion interesting: I had no idea who were the top $ G, for example.


Joe Pelletier said...

I really like the deal from the Blues standpoint. Halak is an upgrade on Chris Mason. Mason is good, but not great.

Unless he flees to Europe, the Blues should have Halak for a minimum of one season via arbitration. That gives them a whole year to sign him long term or trade him at the deadline if need be, perhaps get an equal prospect or two in return.

St. Louis has a lot of good young prospects, so sacrificing Eller and Schultz is a smart move.

And they didn't have to give up Sherbrooke, Quebec's David Perron, who has some real top level talent.

Maybe the thought that Montreal wants French players is an old school myth nowadays, though. Still, Perron would have been a better immediate return.

That being said, I know very little about Eller and Schultz.

Bob McKenzie was saying PHI, SJ and TB were also in the running. Hard to believe the market was so low for Halak. It would only have gotten lower on July 1st as there is a glut of goalies available via UFA this summer.

Summary - risky trade for Montreal, not really risky at all for St. Louis.