HabsWorld.net -- 

It turns out that GM Pierre Gauthier really wanted the last word for the
calendar year of 2010 when it comes to trades.  Friday’s trade of Maxim
Lapierre was his 2nd of the week and was the opposite of the James Wisniewski
deal as Montreal dealt away the NHL talent here.  As always, our writers
chime in with their thoughts on the trade.

Note: As this was originally posted shortly after the trade was finalized,
be sure to check back later for more writer reactions.  This article will
be edited with their thoughts as they come in.

Matt Dilworth: Although I can’t say that the team is better on paper
for this trade, I’m left feeling somewhat relieved that Lapierre was traded. To
be honest, he never lived up to his potential in Montreal, aside for a playoff
run and half of a season a few years back. While I don’t subscribe to the "Lapierre-was-the-reason-Montreal-didn’t-get-powerplays"
theory, it was clear that Lapierre didn’t exactly measure up to his agitator
label. Factor in him feeling under-utilized, and responding with a trade demand
as opposed to hard work, I can’t say that I’m sad to see him go. Realistically,
there are many that can take over Lapierre’s minimal role from Hamilton, and
likely without the extra attention that Lapierre garnered. That all being said,
I will miss the faces that he pulled.

Brian La Rose: Lapierre did bring one on-ice contribution on a nightly
basis, that being his hitting where he’ll likely have the team lead for another
month or so.  But beyond that, he brought very little to the table after a
strong playoff performance last season.  Considering the glutton of
youngsters that require waivers next year (Pacioretty, Desharnais, White, and
Maxwell amongst others), GM Pierre Gauthier had to start making room for some of
these players at some point.  He did so with Dustin Boyd being farmed out
earlier this month, Ryan O’Byrne being shipped to Colorado, and now Lapierre’s trade request provided the opportunity to
free up a spot for Desharnais to get a significant look.  This probably
won’t be the last trade of its kind this season either.

The fact that Lapierre is once again arbitration eligible this offseason
means next year’s salary will likely hit the 7-figure mark.  Had his play
continued as it has so far this season, he would have been a candidate to be
non-tendered and walk for free.  As for what the Habs brought in, it’s not
an eye popping haul.  However, Festerling will be useful for a Bulldogs
defence corps depleted by injuries and recalls, and with so many defencemen on
the NHL roster having their contracts expire this summer, having another
blueliner with NHL experience in the fold may really come in handy down the
road.  As for the draft pick, it will replenish the 5th rounder the team
may surrender as a result of the Wisniewski trade earlier in the week.  The
true success of this deal for Montreal may not be measured by Festerling’s
success though, but rather Desharnais’.  He has his chance now, let’s see
what he can do with it.

Matt Gauthier The Canadiens are now down to 3 Québec-born players in their roster. However, none of those 3 are regulars (Darche, Desharnais and Picard). There is definitely a decline in the number of players originating from La Belle Province making it to the NHL, however it would be outrageous to say that there are none or that they are untouchable. The Montréal Canadiens represent more than hockey in Québec, and it is a shame that the management is unable to find or acquire them. There are 6 NHL teams with 3 or more Québec players on their active roster. Lapierre was the only regular Québec player left in the team. I have never felt the gravity of the situation until Lapierre got shipped West. His departure is a serious blow to the faithful Habs supporters. When are the Nordiques back?

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