Au Revoir Sheldon

Well the eve of free agency is upon us which can prove to be exciting, sometimes shocking and even disappointing for some, especially us Hab fans.

I previously wrote an article regarding Bob Gainey as GM and his decisions and actions or there lack of. Some agreed and others disagreed. It is easy to play armchair GM, especially when we as fans do not know what happens behind closed doors.

Once again I will reiterate that I am a fan of Gainey’s, both when he was a player and now as a GM. Like every GM he has made both good and bad decisions. I was glad that he was able to unload both Theodore and Samsonov but ultimately he was the one responsible for signing them. Theodore was a tough break and Samsonov was an act of desperation.

It proves that Montreal is a difficult destination to attract free agents for various reasons. The Canadiens did offer both Elias and Shanahan big bucks but ultimately they chose not to come to Montreal. I hope Gainey sticks with youth or the trade route if he is unable to land a big name quality free agent without overpaying.

Now my disappointment lies with the fact that Sheldon Souray is on the verge of leaving the Canadiens and we will have nothing to show for him.

At the end of last season when the Canadiens were fighting for the final playoff spot, Huet was injured. To me Gainey had two choices. Trade for a proven goalie i.e. Joseph or Belfour (which would have probably cost a third round draft pick) or roll the dice without a number one goaltender and trade Souray for bodies and or picks. He chose neither, instead he perservered with Abby who is obviously not a number one goaltender and Halak who was unproven.

Without a proven goalie not many teams are going to advance very far into the playoffs and may even struggle making them. This has been proven time and time again. Yet many average or slightly above average teams with solid goaltending have enjoyed playoff success even winning the Stanley Cup. Yes Huet did come back at the end but it was too little too late and he was not in playoff form.

Craig Rivet fetched a first round pick so it is safe to say Souray would have at least done the same. In this new NHL special teams are huge and teams would have lined up for his services. Realistically the Habs would have needed Souray to make a push for and into the playoffs but they also needed a proven goaltender as well. To me Gainey sat on the fence. Now Souray will walk and we will have nothing to show for him.

Lets face it, anyone that thought Souray was going to resign with Montreal is dillusional. Rumors galore have said that he wants to be in California closer to his family. Not to menion, Gainey will not break the bank for him, which is a wise decision. But rest assured, some team will.

Yes, Souray is an offensive asset with a big shot and any team in the league would like to have him in their lineup. I believe he is also a character guy and a team player. But having said this I have seen him in many a highlight reals playing the goat. Defensively he is a liability.

Now if he could be signed for a realistic number, than for sure, but how much would you be willing to pay for Souray? Like many players eligible for unrestricted free agency he ironically enjoyed a career year. Souray also has a history of injury problems.

I think Montreal would have been better off retaining and resigning Craig Rivet. He also provides leadership, experience and grit. Had this been the case the Canadiens would only looking to replace one defenseman instead of two. This might be accomplished from within the organization with possibly OByrne from Hamilton. And this would cost nothing. And sorry to say but Gorges was just a throw in and will be lucky to earn a regular roster spot.

The player(s) and or pick(s) acquired in the Souray trade could have been used in a package to pursue a Marleau type player via a trade or for you Francophone fans, to select Angelo Esposito.

So yes I am disappointed that we will lose one of the most sought after unrestricted free agents available and have nothing to show for it. I just wish Gainey chose one side of the fence or the other and not sit on it.


7 Responses to Au Revoir Sheldon

  1. OwensMonsters says:

    I too am disappointed that Montreal didnt select Espo in the draft, in hindsght which I know is 20/20, it would have been nice to trade up the 22nd pick to get Espo a lil earlier.. but I am impressed that Gainey had the balls to bypass the 4 or 5 gifted forwards with the 12th pick and select McDonagh which many scouts were deeming the best D-man in the draft this year. To me in the coming years he will ultimately replace Souray on the blueline, gifted offensively and makes the odd mistake in his own end, by odd I mean fewer then Souray had.

    Next.. I would sign Souray to at the MOST $4.5-5m per year, Im sorry I love your shot but at -28 you arent a priority in my eyes!!

    Some names I would go after.. I would like to see Kariya.. a speedy winger for Koivu.. maybe Kozlov 80 point man would be nice to add.. Bertuzzi if we can get him for a min few with incentives.. and for the back end maybe Hannan, Stuart, Schneider or Preissing.. I think any number of these additions would plug any holes left from last year and add to a great core of players we already had. Briere, Gomez and Drury may help but at the salaries they will command it leaves little room for fine tuning down the stretch and  handicaps us down the road.

    But I must say.. If Gainey can unload Samsinov and his contract, I certainly hope he can unload Kovalev and his, he wants out, I want him gone, $4.5m for 47 points just isnt enough sorry.

  2. habswinthecup-again says:

     Had Gainey traded Souray then all the critics would have gave him sh*t for that, because they would have missed the playoffs and that would have been the reason, so either way Gainey was in a no-win situation. I believe that Gainey did not trade Souray is because Souray had expressed his desire to stay in Montreal (even his wife and baby were staying in Montreal), I also know that Souray would have taken a lesser contract than Markov, that is until that idiot Holgrem went and overpaid Timmonen by $2 million/year. Hell even Brierre and/or Drury might have resigned in Buffalo if it weren't for those two contracts in Philly. Gainey is not blame here.

  3. Komic-J says:

    Couldn't have said it better…
    Amen !

  4. Habroller says:

    Angelo Esposito is not a francophone. He speaks English, then Italian then French.

    As much as Francos were wrong wanting him the be our next "French superstar", please stop, dear Anglos, to make him look like our own delusional desire. You should have had put the same preferences on him as he is a very skilled Montrealer.

    Other than that, I'm really happy with McDonough & Pacioretty.

  5. Roadrunner12 says:

    Me too but I also wouldn't have minded getting Esposito as well.

  6. hitman46 says:

    OK Day 1 of free agent signings is done and of course Briere chose Philly over MTL, who can blame him with carbo as our coach. Our habs have not had a super star on their team in years. Bob had better do something soon we can't expect to win with the same team we had last year

  7. passionch says:

    I agree, we will be losing Sheldon but as someone mentionned, Bob would still be blamed if he traded away Souray at deadline and we missed the playoffs.  We can't attract an UFA without overpaying them so as a GM, Bob needs to use trades as his best option to improve aside from the laid-back, let the youngsters mature and take over.  That is a good direction but they need to be surrounded with experienced good players and not plagued guys with bad attitude (Samsonov, although I would have never thought he was that bad).

    I am quite disappointed with the first day of UFA signings as a Habs' fan although I know for sure it wasn't the fault of Bob as he tried everything to sign Briere and in the end, it was the player who chose to turn away from Montreal (7M for 6 years < 6.5M for 8 years, not including Quebec taxes…).  It's a shame but that's how it is for the past.  I am still hopeful that we acquire Handzus and Preissing as they were my top signings with decent demands instead of those ridiculous salaries we've witnessed this off-season.  God, our hockey is sick and it pisses me off.  Too bad Hannan signed in Colorado as his 3.6M is just perfect.  Good for them!

    Thank you Philadelphia's GM for your moves but it's understandable after being last place last season…  However, it will kill the game and for that, I am frustrated.  At least, we'll have great games between the Rangers and Flyers next year, that you can be certain!

    In any case, I hope Montreal will be able to do at least 1 signing to compete in this already competitive conference, with all teams improving. On the bright side, if a player who signed this off-season is a flop (peaked players who will only drop), we'll have the upper hands with salary cap advantage and be big teams in the future with a nice crop of UFAs.

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