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- With a $5 M cap hit, Sergei Gonchar is one of the most expensive d-men in franchise history. The only ones higher are P.K. Subban ($9 M), Andrei Markov ($5.75 M), Mathieu Schneider ($5.75 M), and Roman Hamrlik ($5.5 M).
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 why?
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 powerplay.
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.