After the initial jubilation from most fans after the Habs announced the
firing of Pierre Gauthier last season, everyone has had a chance to sit back and
reflect on his tenure as GM. Earlier this week, our writers discussed what
moves they would undo if they had the chance; we posed a similar question to our
readers on the HW Forums and had several interesting responses about his trades
and his time in Montreal in general.
Thoughts on his trades/signings
sakiqc: "The Cammy trade didn’t help. Cammy played great with
Calgary while Bourque didn’t have an impact. I still can’t blame PG for that
one, and it’s still not sure who won the deal. Rene Bourque is the type of
players the Habs needed and still need. Cammy had become a peripheral shooter
and we needed a big guy who can score goals with his back or the back of his leg
while looking in the other direction, that is a guy who go around the net and
can bury it in. Holland is still an intriguing prospect, and who knows who we’ll
draft with the 2nd rounder this year."
Trizzak: "Although I didn’t mind it all that much at the time,
the S. Kostitsyn trade is probably the largest gap in talent from Gauthier’s
moves. The Gainey/Gauthier combined inability to get good value out of their
‘problem children’ did no favours to the depth chart or standings."
Rankinator: "Impulsive trades like Cammalleri and Spacek that
handicap our team are things I can’t agree with. The Cammalleri trade can’t
fully be compared yet since we need to see what comes of that 2nd round pick
this year. But he simply does not do his homework. Halak could have garnered a
better return, not a Pietrangelo but certainly a quality person and picking up a
declining defenseman for a defenseman that would have been off the books this
offseason was dumb."
Machine of Loving Grace: "His best signing was Cole by far.
Best trade I’d probably go with getting Bournival. "
Thoughts on his tenure
The Chicoutimi Cucumber: "What epitomized Gauthier to me was
acquiring Kaberle in response to his coach’s repeated demands for PP help, then
firing that same coach about three games later. That isn’t leadership, it’s
sheer confusion. That, to me, is when he lost the plot."
BlueKross: "Generally speaking, I would give PG a better grade
than a lot of the previous GM’s."
Commandant: "His moves individually were really not that bad.
It was the collective of his leadership which was awful."
As I expected, the Cammalleri trade is the one that a lot of our readers are
still upset about. Perception is everything nowadays and there simply is
no way to spin how the trade is believed to have went down as a positive.
Like most of his trades, this one came out of nowhere (one thing I genuinely
liked about Pierre Gauthier’s stint as GM was actually being surprised when a
trade happened and not having it reported for days beforehand) but given the
circumstances surrounding this deal (Cammalleri’s comments and lengthy slump),
it has to be put into a class of its own. In trades, one can always wonder
if a better return could have been acquired elsewhere but most of the time, it
can reasonably be thought that the GM did his due diligence. Even though
Gauthier claimed the Cammalleri move was in the works before his comments, no
one seems to believe him. There is a difference between what some fans and
readers don’t like about the trade – that the return was mediocre or that it was
rushed and Cammalleri wasn’t properly shopped – but there is one thing most
agree on. They didn’t like it then and they don’t like it now.
As for Gauthier’s days in Montreal, I tend to agree with the readers.
In terms of his player personnel decisions, I didn’t disagree with the logic of
the moves all that often – even the Cammalleri deal had some reasonable
logic to it. Unfortunately a lot of his deals didn’t work out as intended
but no GM has a perfect track record. That said, his peculiarities were
the bigger problem and what warranted a change. There is no universal
‘right way’ to run a franchise but suffice it to say, there can be a wrong way
to run one. As I said earlier, perception means a lot and the manner in
which he conducted his business was simply a little too unorthodox for anyone’s
liking. Was he the worst GM in Canadiens’ history? Certainly not but
the time was right for a change. Here’s hoping that Marc Bergevin rights