Thursday, June 17, 2010

Halak is gone

Pierre Gauthier has made his first big move as Canadiens GM by trading Jarsolav Halak to the St Louis Blues for prospects Lars Eller and Ian Schultz.

Eller played seven games in the NHL last year, Schultz played the whole season in junior with the WHL's Calgary Hitmen even though he's 20 years old.

This could very well be a PR disaster for the Canadiens because they are not getting an established NHL player in return. But in pure hockey terms, Gauthier must have really believed in Eller's potential. And that had better be some potential that is about to be realized, like in the first two weeks of the season, because the pressure on Eller to perform will be monstrous.

But one thing that can't be ignored is that Halak is a free agent, a restricted one, but a free agent nonetheless. It's not that easy to trade an unsigned goalie that is looking at getting a pretty monstrous raise this season. You need a team with cap space and a team with a deep stable of prospects.

So now the Carey Price era will begin in earnest. I have always been for this move, I just thought Halak would fetch more than this on the trade market. Gauthier is on a conference call at 4:15, will check back here after that.


BigT said...

I have nothing against Price (I have his jersey)… but let’s not kid ourselves. Halak is the real deal (proven NHL caliber goalie). So, basically the Habs today lost an NHLer and now have 2 prospects + another prospect in goal in Price.

Not smart, not good. This is the spillover from the Gomez trade… cap crunch hurting us.

Shocked that that is the best he could get in return with Philly, TBay and SJ also in the hunt.

I think they would've gotten away with trading price (even if he finally developed) because Halak would be a top 10 goalie (easily with potential to be even better).
What we don't know, is if Price will ever develop.

No one in the organization had the balls to risk the Price project
but they should have.

And now they've set Price up for failure next year. If he plays anywhere below great, the upper-bowl fans will rip him apart and make his existence in Montreal hell. What does that mean, either he'll request a trade or sign elsewhere if he rides out his contract. Once this kid becomes UFA, he's gone.

TK said...

Arpon, does this mean anything for T. Plekanec negotiations? They will now have a little more cap room to work with now that they only need to sign one of these young guys, but then again, I think they should try to get a veteran backup to help Carey become the pro he could be. Do they have confidence that Eller could step in as a second line centre?

As for that veteran backup I mentioned, I am not up to date on who is available. I think they need a guy that could play a few games, but humble enough to step aside and let a younger guy shine. How much would Turco cost? Is he suitable? Maybe he isn't ready to enter the twilight of his career just yet.

Arpon Basu said...

Gauthier strongly hinted he will turn toward free agent market to get a backup. The market is flooded with goalies this summer, probably why Gauthier made this deal because supply outweighed demand. I wouldn't be surprised to see Biron or Dan Ellis or someone like that. Turco might be a bit too pricey. As for Pleks, Gauthier denied this will have any impact, but you have to feel that Eller is some insurance should Pleks decide to walk.

MathMan said...

Biron and Ellis are both better than Turco anyhow. Turco isn't bery good.

What's gotten lost a lot in the whole Price-vs-Halak debate is that Price was playing at an NHL-starter level. That Halak played at a Vezina level didn't dispel that, nor did the fact that the Habs basically needed a miraculous goaltending performance to win way too many nights, and more often when Price happened to start. If the quality goaltending provided by Price last year isn't enough to take the team to the playoffs, this team has major problems.

Olivier said...

The more I look at this trade, the moreI like ite. Let's see how much Halak gets on his next contract before ripping Gauthier a new one.

I heard on the radio that Eller had a mononucleosis at the start of the season; Aarpon, did you hear about that one?