In trading the rights to Sergei Kostitsyn and future considerations to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday in exchange for the rights to restricted free agent centre Dustin Boyd and unrestricted free agent goalie Dan Ellis, Pierre Gauthier solved three problems at once.
Assuming, of course, he can get Ellis and Boyd to sign here.
Ellis, obviously, would be a tremendous insurance policy should Carey Price falter this season. The 30-year-old (his birthday was June 19) was 15-13-1 with the Preds last season with a .909 save percentage and 2.69 GAA, numbers that are at least competitive and at most better than Price's.
Gauthier said he would seek a good goaltender to "support" Price, and that's what he's done. It remains to be seen if Ellis is willing to accept a backup role and, consequently, backup money to come to Montreal. He made $1.8 million last year, and if he's willing to take similar money from the Canadiens then something could probably be worked out.
However, earlier Tuesday Ellis wrote on his Twitter account how excited he was for Thursday's opening of the free agent market. However he did send out a "Pretty cool" just before the trade was officially announced.
Boyd, who turns 24 on July 16, would seemingly be a perfect fit as a replacement for Glen Metropolit on the fourth line. At 6-foot, 187 pounds, Boyd is no giant, but he plays the game hard and has good speed with decent hands. He was credited with 81 hits in 78 games last season in just under 11 minutes of ice time per game. Offensively, he had 11 goals and 13 assists in 60 games with the Calgary Flames and 18 games with Nashville.
So in one fell swoop, Gauthier has potentially filled the backup goalie spot, the fourth line centre spot and jettisoned the enfant terrible to Opryland.
Not a bad day's work.
UPDATE 6:36 p.m. The latest from Dan Ellis' Twitter: "Very excited about the trade! Its an honor to be part of a team with such great tradition and passion! Hope we can figure something out!"
UPDATE 9:21 pm - It appears Boyd was not given a qualifying offer by the Predators and is in fact UFA