Even though Pierre Gauthier was only GM of the Habs for a few years, he made
quite a few significant moves along the way. Some have worked out while
others haven’t done as well as we would have hoped. As is the case with
any GM of any team, there is always one deal that as a fan you wish could be
undone. Today, our writers offer up their thoughts on which move they
would undo if it were possible.
Here is the question that was posed to our writers: If you could
undo one trade or signing from the Pierre Gauthier era, which would it be and
Matt Dilworth: If I had the ability to undo a
trade from Pierre Gauthier’s era, I think I would have to go with the Mike
Cammalleri deal. Now, I understand why Gauthier chose to trade him (unwelcome
statements to the media, horrible production, $6M salary), but his timing
couldn’t have been any worse. For the aforementioned reasons, Cammalleri’s value
was at an all-time low, and one has to imagine that the return that Gauthier
netted was indicative of such. I believe if Gauthier had waited until the trade
deadline, he could have acquired a much more significant return.
Moreover, Cammalleri’s departure left a gaping hole in the top 6 forwards.
It’s understandable to see how Gauthier would have thought that Rene Bourque
would have been an adequate replacement, but last season showed anything but
that to be true. Granted, it’s too early to tell if Patrick Holland will
compensate for the loss of what Cammalleri could bring on a nightly basis, or
what 2013’s 2nd rounder will bring to the table, but Gauthier’s trade has left
Montreal quite thin with scoring forwards at present.
Brian La Rose: Although I don’t entirely mind the return the
Habs got in the Mike Cammalleri trade (given his recent play, it wasn’t
realistic to expect a high quality player or package coming the other way), that
would be the trade I would undo. He was dealt a whopping one day after
making some strong statements in the media. I’m willing to concede that
the thought of moving him came to Gauthier before Cammalleri’s comments were
made but that was not a deal that they couldn’t have made a week later after he
had properly been shopped. Heck, it took Montreal a week to even get
anything out of the trade with Bourque being suspended at the time. The
fact that there were rumblings that other GM’s didn’t even know he was available
shows that the standard process wasn’t followed.
There certainly were positives from the trade (a potentially useful winger, a
decent pick and prospect, and cap space) but like many, I can’t help but wonder
if the Habs could have done better. That’s the only of Pierre Gauthier’s
trades that I felt that way about and that’s why I would undo that deal and
properly shop Cammalleri around the league. It wouldn’t bother me even if
the Calgary trade would have turned out to be the best option, at least we’d be
more comfortable that the best possible return was garnered.
Unfortunately, we’ll never know.
Alex Létourneau: With the luxury of hindsight,
the Andrei Markov signing would have to be the clear cut winner in Pierre
Gauthier’s ledger of short fallings. The term, three years at $5.75 million per
year was an issue in itself. How you can give a man, granted a gifted game
changer when healthy, a multi-year deal like that is beyond me. For someone who
played 65 games in three seasons, 52 before that contract, to receive a contract
like that, it must be like winning the lottery. But tying up that kind of money
in someone with that many question marks, even after knowing he wouldn’t be
healthy enough to start the season, was not the only major issue.
The sequence of events that followed that signing hurt the organization as a
whole. Josh Gorges, most likely the future captain of the Canadiens, was snubbed
the initial contract he deserved. I accept that he also had a major knee
operation but the difference in term between the two was insulting, to say the
least. The terms should’ve been reversed. Then, throughout the season, Gauthier
was on defence constantly regarding Markov’s health, which in turn, gave the
Canadiens more negativity to deal with than necessary during what was already
looking like a miserable season by mid-December. The addition of Tomas Kaberle
reeked of desperation and applied further cap restraints to the team moving into
what we thought would be a season this year and on. Not to mention he was ousted
as lazy and incredibly useless in every aspect of the game except on the
I’ve always liked Markov and I hope he gets as close as he can to being his
old self but from an objective standpoint, and not one of a bleeding heart Habs
fan, that signing at that price and term should never have happened.
Michael Richard: Of all the trades Pierre Gauthier made as GM
there’s one that sticks in my mind as being a big mistake. The trade of Jaroslav
Spacek just over a year ago, on December 9th, to Carolina for Tomas Kaberle
struck me as a major blunder the minute I heard about it. The intent was to get
a veteran blueliner with offensive upside in order to help the struggling
powerplay. Which on the face of it seemed to make sense but there were two
aspects of the trade which I thought made it the wrong move. The first was that
Spacek was in the last year of his contract on would have freed some much needed
cap space at the end of year to help secure P.K. Subban but instead Spacek and
his contract were dealt for an even bigger contract with two extra years. The
second aspect of the trade I didn’t like was the age of Kaberle (33 years old at
the time of the deal). He had shown with his last two teams, Boston and
Carolina, that his skills were deteriorating and committing any significant
amount of money to him was a big mistake.