Halak trade bold but unpopular move

Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier showed he’s not a man to shy away from a bold, unpopular decision when he traded playoff hero Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues for two unproven prospects.

The stunning deal announced Thursday afternoon moves Carey Price back into the No. 1 goaltending job, a position he lost to Halak this year.

“We had two good, young goaltenders, and we still have one, and we’ve added two prospects, one who’s ahead of the other,” Gauthier said on a conference call from an undisclosed location.

The prospects are 21-year-old centre Lars Eller and 20-year-old right-winger Ian Schultz . Eller is the one who’s ahead in the race to establish himself as a National Hockey League player. A former first-round draft choice – the 13th overall pick in 2007 – he spent most of last season in the American Hockey League, but had two goals in seven games with the Blues.

Schultz , the younger brother of Washington Capitals defenceman Jeff Schultz , was a third-round pick in 2008, and wrapped up a junior career with the Calgary Hitmen. He had 24 goals and 31 assists last season, but the Canadiens might have been most impressed by his 150 penalty minutes and his willingness to drop the gloves.

Gauthier conceded the salary cap played a role in the decision to trade Halak , but it appears the team was determined to give Price another chance to show why the team made him the fifth overall choice at the 2005 draft. Both goaltenders were restricted free agents this summer, but Halak had arbitration rights and was due for a substantial raise from the $775,000 he earned in the past season.

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/Halak+trade+bold+unpopular/3166961/story.html#ixzz0rDKCadva

22 Responses to Halak trade bold but unpopular move

  1. simplyhabby says:

    I posted this in the other article.

    Halak was the better of the two goalies.  I will never dispute that.  That being said,

    Halak's value in a cap work is probably at its peak right now.  The Blues can go to arbitration and if things don't work out at the end of the year, he is gone UFA.  Expiring contracts are a valuable asset in the cap world.  Please review the Phenuef trade in that regard for Calgary. 

    As for the habs, if halak goes to arbritation, he will easily get the high 3's low 4 mill a year and most likley, will leave the Habs UFA the following year or in a trade where his value would be less because the other teams no longer has the team option to retain his services for at least another year.

    Price will resign for a much cheaper contract and be at the very least, above average, providing the teams plays a sound defensive collapse like they did in the playoffs.  Remember, not to discredit Halak for his heroics but the D allowed very few second chances during the long playoff run. (Something they did not do in the philly series)

    As for the players coming back, I am happy Gautier truly beleived that the habs got lucky to make it as far as they did in the playoffs.  The habs are thin on size and grit.  The prospects coming over both play with a little edge and should help Montreal long term without breaking the bank.  Now the habs have some cap room to resign Plex (if that is their wish) or obtain a big centre (we can only hope) to address the glaring size issue.  Even if they resign plex, they will have a little flexibility to make some other minor tweaks.  To be honest, I would not be suprised to see the Hammer go for a 3rd rounder or less.  Hammer is solid but just think of what we can do with an additional 5 mil come free agency.  Trading him for next to nothing will be the only way you get rid his expiring over priced contract.

    Welcome to the cap world people.  Montreal wants to ensure the pond in Hamilton is stocked becaause those hard working entry level players  go a long way regarding your financial flexibility.

  2. leafy says:

    What ever happened to the idea that your goalie is your single most important player and SHOULD be paid a lot of money if they're good at stopping the puck?

    Put another way, I'd rather have a great expensive goalie than a cheap average/unproven goalie.

    Brodeur has always been New Jersey's most expensive player, and you know what, good for Lamirello.

    The only argument that could justify this trade is that the Habs believe Price will be the better goalie in the long term. Whether that's true or not is impossible to tell at the present time.


    MTL, CHICAGO, AND PHILLY all had "cheap/average goalie" and look how far they went!! the "expensive goalies" like Brodeur, Luongo, Nabokov, Miller how long did they last?? Look at how Detroit did all those years they won the Cup.. they had Osgood or Vernon… Also at the beginning of the year there was talk from team Canada that Price had a shot at the third spot on the team.. he struggled but he has a ton of potential.. I just wish they got more for Halak, I won't be suprised if Halak crashes and burns in St.louis..

  4. simplyhabby says:

    I still beleive in the philosophy of building your team from the net out.  In a cap era, as long as you have a decent goalie with a sound defense who employs a system that reduces second chances, that is just as good as having a Broduer back there.

    So to put it in your way, sure, go for that 6 mill + goalie, but then, you need to pay around 1 mill for your back up (give or take of course).  Thats about 12% give or take of your cap space spent on one position.  Now you sacrificed depth at another position on your team.  Pick your poison.

  5. simplyhabby says:

    My only issue with Halak is workload.  I am interested to see how he fairs as being the undisputed number 1 for then entire season.  No disrespect to the guy who got the Habs into the playoffs and a deep run, I always thought that was a major weakness,  He did not look that great in the Philly series.  Sure, you can remark that the Habs did not play that well in front of him but that just reinforces the point of how great a goalie can be with a team playing well in front. 

    I don't know how many games I saw this year with Price having a spectacular game but the team in front was not helping him at all. 

  6. leafy says:

    If you can build a dominant team like Chicago this year or Detroit in years past, then yeah, you could win with a cheap goalie.  But good luck in building a team like that.

  7. Promateus says:

    Thk You for this thoughtful reminder. Well put. Covers it all.

  8. mojo19 says:

    hahaha, omg. They want Price to be that guy so bad. Stupid move. I can't wait to see the contract Carey gets, I hope its at least up over $2 mil.

  9. mojo19 says:

    i dont wanna get into a whole thing about being down on Osgood, as he is one of the most underrated players in the history of the game.

    But to brush of Mike Vernon as if he was just an average goalie or something? He did win the cup with Calgary in '89 and played spectacular, then won the cup with Detroit in '97. Oh and he grabbed the Conn Smythe that year too.

    I know this wasn't the overall point of your arguement, I just had to mention it.

  10. simplyhabby says:

    It truly does play in reference to my argument.  It is just as easy if not easier to make the argument to keep the better of the two then keep the one at the lower market value. 

    I can assure you, watching Vernon in that 89 series is something I will unfortunately not forget and you point is vaild…..you cannot overlook a players accomplishments…specially a recent one. 

  11. simplyhabby says:

    I would hazard a guess…..3 yrs, 2.5 per.

    Only time will tell if it is a stupid move.  Even if Price flops and Halak excels this year, we will have to see how the prospects develop in the next 3 years.

  12. leafy says:

    Mojo is absolutely right. Mike Vernon was not an "average" goalie. He was one of the better goalies in the league when he played. Both in Calgary and Detroit.

  13. Kramer says:

    The World Cup games are rigged to appease the proleteriat and UN council.


    Both those teams were VERY talented.. I'm just saying he never stole the cup like ROY did in 1986, or 1993.. Osgood and Vernon were good goalies, but they never had to stand on their heads in order for those teams to win.

  15. mojo19 says:

    I don't think your Patrick Roy comparison is fair. No Vernon never stole a cup the way Roy did, but Roy is one of the all time greats, I don't think anyone would argue he is a top 5 all time. I'm not saying Vernon is in that league but he was a great goalie in his day. Even at the end of his career he was very solid in San Jose.

  16. mojo19 says:

    Since were dealing with young players, and especially goalies, you're right, this will not be something to fully evaluate until a few years have passed. But I think because of the potential Halak has this is probably a bad move. Just an opinion

  17. inurface says:

    rigged yes
    reason is not valid ,.,.

  18. inurface says:

    ok sure trade halak the only reason this team did anythin….
    hmmm nxt yr montreal is gonna get a lottery pick ,srry  weak def potential weak goalie….sure they could content for 7 8th spot but i jus dun see it happenin..

    also i still would rather have excellent goaltendin in the playoffs rather then more depth…..

    all these guys were backbone of there team and made it to the finals and as for those tht say depth over goalie sure  go for it …

    bottom line only det and chi had depth enough to ride weak/sub par goal tending to a cup run…

    goalie is like a QB u need a good one to built a good/great franchise around. as always one.two  exception detroit and chicago…

    p.s i think chi is not an exception though

  19. inurface says:

    oh and for montreal this was a bad trade as they could have gotten way more for halak

  20. cam7777 says:

    This is the price for having Gomez and Gionta eating up 22% of your cap space.  Halak is the first casualty, but there willl be many more.  The Habs will have to luck out, and have Eller actually live up to expectations – if that happens, they escape this round unscathed.

    Even with Halak gone though, the Habs have only 12.5 million dollars to resign Lapierre, Moore, Pouliot, Plekanec, Bergeron and Price.  Now that's actually possible if everyone is reasonable, but they would still need to sign 3 additional forwards, and a backup goaltender for Price (preferably an experienced one).  

    They've got to find a way to move Kostitsyn and Hamrlik soon, or there could be more losses coming quickly.  And next season, Markov, Gorges and Pacioretty are due raises.  Cap hell begins now for the Montreal Canadiens.


    Now that MTL has got Eller, I'd say they're well on their way!!!! lol

  22. kilter says:

    i,m not buying that BS about cap space or any other kind of space! CAREY PRICE SUCKS!!!!!!! Thats it period! Tradeing Halak for abslutly nothing"and dont give me that BS about Ellars is a first round draft pick and could be this or that"was the single biggest idiotic move since trading away Roy"no i,m not saying Halak is as good as Roy"but his leaving will have a major impact on this team for a long time to come! how anyone in their right mind or with even a hint of hockey sense could ever Possibly think Price is going to be anything more than a back up in the NHL is a total FOOL,i have watched for 3 yrs now and watched Halak and Huet out play Price at every turn and still they go with him,i said at the start of last season that by the end of the year Halak would be the number one guy in Montreal and everyone thought i was crazy,look what happened Halak had a great regular season,a fantastic olympics,and an unreal playoffs and we give him away for nothing and keep that goddamn SIVE! I,m embarresed to be a Hab fan,what this joke of a GM has done is beyond words! i hope Halak wins the cup nxt year and breaks every goaltending record there is,as for PRICE well i already know what that loser will do…nothing but fail again as he has done since coming into the league,get ready to not make the playoffs for many years to come! This move was a total disgrace to HALAK,to the Montreal organization and to its FANS!!!!

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