The Bryan Allen era is about to get underway in Montreal after he was
acquired for Rene Bourque earlier in the week. While many fans are happy
to see Bourque on another team, reaction to Allen’s acquisition hasn’t been as
positive as one might think. How do our writers feel, are they pleased
with the deal or are there some concerns that have come about as a result of the
Brian La Rose: If you view the trade on upside, the Ducks win
the deal. Allen is what he is at this stage of his career, a third pairing
stay-at-home defenceman with decent size and penalty killing ability. This
is something that the team is currently lacking so it’s nice to see a void being
filled. We all saw the many sides of Bourque during his tenure with
Montreal. If the good Bourque (or even the decent one) shows up, Anaheim
will have themselves a reasonable-to-quality forward for the next year and
change at a pretty low acquisition cost. There’s a lot of potential upside
for them while Allen doesn’t really have much, if any.
For the Habs though, the deal wasn’t about upside. Bourque was a sunk
cost and getting any sort of asset back that wasn’t going to be costly on the
cap moving forward has to be viewed as a positive, even if it does further block
the prospects for a bit longer (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). The
biggest negative of the trade is that Montreal has added a considerable amount
of cap space once again (remember, Bourque’s cost in the AHL was around $2.4 M
and Allen makes $3.5 M) which is going to limit their ability to spend for the
time being. There still should be room for another trade but if they want
to take on much more salary, the move will be made later rather than sooner.
Alex Létourneau: It was pretty clear with the play of Jiri
Sekac that Rene Bourque would not be finding his way back into the lineup,
barring a slew of injuries. Aside from depth on the blueline (uh oh Jarred
Tinordi), the move offers up cap space for next season. Allen’s a big body and
adds toughness to the lineup for a player that, playoff heroics aside, simply
couldn’t, or didn’t, want to play the way he was expected. There’s more trust
being put into the young players up front. Solid move by Marc Bergevin.
Paul MacLeod: I am happily surprised by this deal. Like most
fans and observers, I believed that the Canadiens would have to retain salary in
order to trade Bourque after he cleared waivers. That Marc Bergevin was able to
unload Bourque for a serviceable defenceman with an expiring contract -without
retaining any of Bourque’s salary – seems nothing short of miraculous.
As for Bryan Allen, he’s a strong, physical, defensive defenceman with decent
mobility. To me, he sounds like a much larger, more physical Mike Weaver. What
is not to like?
Well, some fans will be upset that the acquisition of Allen might lead to
Nathan Beaulieu and Jarred Tinordi spending most, if not all, of the season in
Hamilton. I think a little perspective is in order here. First, they are 21 and
22 years old respectively. More minor league seasoning is not going to hurt
them. Secondly, it feels like Bergevin is stocking up early for the playoff run
this year without giving up draft picks. The Habs have now dumped the salaries
of two players they did not want to pay or play next season while garnering
defensive depth and salary cap flexibility for next season. Excellent work by
Marc Bergevin, once again.
Norm Szcyrek: At first I was delighted that Marc Bergevin could
find anyone in the NHL to take Rene Bourque. However from Anaheim’s perspective
they can use someone to provide secondary scoring in the playoffs. Their GM knew
Bourque from their days in Chicago as does Bergevin. Anaheim has used two rookie
defensemen in their lineup this season so all this made Allen an expendable
player for them.
From the Habs perspective it is a little disappointing. Allen is near the end
of his career but is a very similar styled player to Jarred Tinordi, big and
defensive with a little toughness. I would rather have watched the Habs rotate
Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu as the seventh defenceman to get them further
developed at the pro level. Injuries on the blueline are likely to happen but
now it’s unlikely either will get that chance to play in the pros this season.
Montreal will get cap relief next season since Allen is in the final year of his
contract while Bourque has another season. Also Bourque’s actual pay next season
is about one million less than his cap hit which the Ducks will find helpful
since they are not a team that spends up to the cap max. Bergevin said at a
presser a couple weeks ago that Tinordi and Beaulieu “had to be better” which
now translates to “not ready yet”.
From our message board, pretty much everyone was happy to see Bourque traded
but several posters echoed the same concerns as some of our writers when it
comes to what this means for the likes of Beaulieu and Tinordi.
Habinator33: “Very happy to have Bourque’s contract off the books for
next year. Was expecting this year to be about the young defensemen, boy did
that change fast. Interested in seeing if something else is in the works.”
Jeff Price: “Thinking beyond this year, this is an awesome trade.
Getting rid of Bourque’s salary for next year is GREAT.
This year, I’m a bit confused. Allen is BIG, and not bad right now, which I
suppose is good…but that gives us WAY too much defensive depth. Unless, as
said, Weaver’s hurt. Heck, I have to say I’m not all that familiar with Allen.
Maybe he’s a Weaver replacement even if Weaver is healthy.”
Trizzak: “So Tinordi and Beaulieu will play a full season in the NHL
at around age 29?”
Meller93: “Well, this takes Bourque’s contract off for next year, and
with Allen’s 3.5 versus Bourque’s 3.3 there not much change for this year. But
if Allen takes Tinordi’s spot as a big defensive defenseman, I won’t be a happy