Whitby - February 18, 2012 - It is official, the Montreal Canadiens are sellers heading towards the NHL draft deadline on February 27, 2012.
Announced yesterday by Habs’ General Manager Pierre Gauthier, 36-year-old veteran defensive defenseman Hal Gill was sent to the Nashville Predators in exchange for two minor league prospects, plus a 2012-second round draft pick. Blake Geoffrion and Robert Slaney are the two forward prospects that are now heading to Montreal.
Geoffrion carries a most famous last name to Habs fans of old and appeared to be excited with the news of the trade. “Wow..what a day…its bitter sweet, going to miss my hometown of Nashville, but going to where it all started with my family…MONTREAL!!!”, is what the 23-year-old posted on his personal Twitter account.
Should Geoffrion play 40 games in the 2012-13 NHL season with the parent club, the Canadiens will also send the Predators, a 2013-fifth round pick.
View from the Whitby cheap seats
Habs’ GM Gauthier did rather well in this deal.
Gill was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2012. The Predators paid a steep price for what is to be considered, a rental player. By consummating this deal, the Predators have announced to the league, they consider themselves serious contenders for this year’s version of the Stanley Cup.
If you read between the lines, the Canadiens have just thrown in the towel for the season. The Canadiens currently sit in a three-way tie for 11th place in the Eastern Conference, eight points behind the 8th place, Toronto Maple Leafs.
I just don’t know how the Canadiens intend to replace someone of Gill’s stature - his size, penalty-killing ability, playoff experience and defensive capabilities in front of netminder Carey Price, if the organization wants to seriously compete for the eighth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
GM Gauthier was rumoured to have been seen at a Washington Capitals’ game last week. Perhaps Mr. Gauthier is attempting to bring back veteran defenseman Roman Hamrlik (tongue-in-cheek).
Believe me Canadiens fans around the world, we are about to be served notice there is a youth movement in the Montreal Canadiens family. The Hal Gill trade is just the beginning of many deals for this fragile-talented (or is that mis-managed) organization.
(Stay tuned for my trade deadline analysis as to what the Montreal Canadiens will do leading up to the trade deadline of February 27. The article will be posted no later than Tuesday, February 21.)
Until next time, play every game as if it is your last one…