In a move to free up some space in the Habs’ camp, Bob Gainey sent 24-year-old Marcel Hossa to the New York Rangers for Garth Murray.
Marcel Hossa entered camp this year knowing that this could very well be his last shot at making it to the NHL. He was having a good camp, picking up several points while playing on a line with Radek Bonk. Ironically, it seems that his hard work has paid off but his shot at the NHL will be with the Rangers, not the Habs.
Garth Murray, 23, has only 20 NHL games under his belt. He did pick up a goal during his short stint with the Rangers during the 2004 season, but was also a -5. Murray will almost undoubtedly be assigned to the Canadiens’ farm team, the Hamilton Bulldogs.
The trade means that Montreal didn’t have to risk losing Hossa on waivers should he have been demoted to the AHL. The trade gives the team another gritty player for the Bulldogs, who can also be demoted without clearing waivers.
Even without Hossa in the picture, the Habs still have several players fighting for roster spots. Chris Higgins, Tomas Plekanec, Guillaume Latendresse, and Alexander Perezhogin are all looking to make the club this season. Pierre Dagenais is in risk of losing his roster spot due to the stellar play of these youngsters.
It’s important to note that Higgins and Perezhogin can both still be sent down to the AHL without having to clear waivers. It seems that Higgins and Plekanec have all but made the final roster, which leaves Perezhogin Latendresse, and Dagenais to fight it out for the final spot.
However, the trade comes less than 24 hours since Gainey stated that new fan-favorite Latendresse will either play the entire year with the Habs, or be sent down to the QMJHL to play for Drummondville. You’ve got to believe that Latendresse’s chances of making the NHL at 18 have greatly increased with the trade.