The Cammalleri – Bourque trade created a tidal wave of reaction, including here at HabsWorld. So much so that we had to split our writers’ analysis into two parts. In this second half, the rest of our staff chime in on the Canadiens’ most recent deal.
Louis Moustakas: Having had the luxury of reading my colleagues’ feedback beforehand, there is very little else I can add in my analysis. In short, Calgary got the most talented player, Montreal got bigger and obtained financial flexibility. The team also added depth to their prospect pool, acquiring Patrick Holland and a second round pick in the process. Overall, I feel it is a decent return, especially considering the cap savings associated with the move.
Beyond that, this move certainly adds to my perception that, if nothing else, Pierre Gauthier has been slowly but surely addressing the size issue in Montreal. In his tenure, the likes of Michael Blunden, Erik Cole, Alexei Emelin and Lars Eller, amongst others, have been added to the organization. While the man has his flaws, he deserves credit for recognizing, and dealing with, one of the organization’s long standing weaknesses.
Jonathan Rebelo: The first thing that went through my head was “that’s it”?
I am quite disappointed that the Canadiens did not get a first round pick in exchange for Cammalleri. I know he has struggled this season, but he was the best player in the trade and has playoff experience to boot. If Gauthier had waited until closer to the deadline or shopped him around the league a bit more, then he certainly could have driven the price tag up.
Even the second round pick coming back is not in the upcoming draft, which is expected to be one of the deepest in years.
On to Rene Bourque, the first thing everyone will point out is his size. He is much bigger than Cammalleri and will use his size to get to the net, but do not expect him to be throwing many big hits anytime soon. That is simply not his style.
For the Canadiens to have any chance at winning this trade, Bourque must make the team tougher to play against and avoid major injuries, which was one of the knocks on Little Mikey.
As for the throw ins, Karri Ramo, who was sent to the Flames, is considered the best goalie not in the NHL. That said, it is believed he will only consider coming back to the NHL if he is going to be a starter. With Carey Price well in place in Montreal, that seemed unlikely with the Habs. However, if Kiprusoff is moved out of Calgary, Ramo may have a chance with the Flames.
Patrick Holland, who was obtained by Montreal, just turned 20 years old and is currently playing with Tri-City in the WHL. He was invited to one of the Team Canada Junior camps earlier this year but failed to make the team. He is a well-rounded player but seriously needs to add some weight his 167 pounds. That is far to slender for his 6 foot frame.
Michael Richard: Usually, in any trade the winner is determined by who gets the better player. Going by that criteria, Calgary wins this trade because Mike Cammalleri has more offensive potential. In reality, that would be too simplistic.
From Montreal’s point of view, Cammalleri was under performing this season and the team is playing poorly. Something had to be done. His controversial remarks about the team’s attitude seem to have been the last straw for Gauthier. Considering his production has dropped steadily since he signed in Montreal and that he seems to get one significant injury per season made his contract too onerous.
In return Montreal gets a bigger, more physical forward in Rene Bourque. The Alberta native has put up decent numbers in the last two seasons and his cap hit is slightly more than half that of Cammalleri’s, which is an added bonus. The main criticism against him is that he’s inconsistent and seems to go stretches where his effort level is questionable. This is nothing new for Montreal and the fact he’ll be wearing number 27 just seems fitting.
It’s too early to decide who won the trade as both teams seem to have addressed an issue. In the end, both teams may benefit from the swap.
Norm Szcyrek: In my opinion, the Habs cut a cancer out of their team’s body by trading Mike Cammalleri. Reportedly, Cammalleri went to management over a month ago, and said he wasn’t “happy”. That’s hockey-speak for “trade me”. His play on the ice confirmed his level of happiness.
I believe that Gauthier identified Calgary as a good destination immediately, and started talking to Flames GM Jay Feaster, probably identifying Rene Bourque as the key component, but not agreeing fully on the minor parts of the deal right away. The fact that Bourque has had a couple of suspensions already this season caused delays in finalizing this trade. The fact that several media have questioned the timing of the transaction during the 2nd intermission of the Bruins game, was curious to me, but later explained. The fact that the time of Calgary submitting their lineup card for their game that night (which included Bourque as a suspended player) meant that he burned a game in his suspension. If the trade had been announced before that lineup was handed in, then the Habs would have had to wait 2 games on their schedule before Bourque could have played for them. Instead, Bourque became available to play in Montreal on Sunday against the Rangers. That showed some strategy on Gauthier’s part. It’s arguable that he could have waited until after the suspension was over. But Cammalleri’s interestingly worded interview to two members of the Montreal hastened the completion of the trade. That interview seemed to be a carefully orchestrated manoeuvre on Cammalleri’s part, who’s been known as a both cerebral individual and a selfish player.
I find it interesting that some hockey pundits paint Cammalleri as a “streaky” scorer, but colour Bourque as an “inconsistent” scorer? To me they are both the same type of player when it comes to effort level, but Bourque at least brings size, some jam to his game, and can play a two-way style, which are attributes that Cammalleri will never be known for. Yes, Cammalleri exceeds Bourque in offensive talent, which is the usual yardstick for measuring any trade. But what is a one dimensional scorer who can’t score, with a high salary, and doesn’t want to be on your team worth? Thursday night, the Habs got an answer to that question from Calgary. At this time, I’m satisfied with the return on this trade. In the end, only time will tell who won this trade.