Sunday, February 25, 2007

2007 NHL Trade Deadline
Sharks acquire Rivet

Faced with the prospect of losing him anyway as an unrestricted free agent, the Montreal Canadiens traded defenceman Craig Rivet to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenceman Josh Gorges and a 2007 first-round draft choice. The Canadiens also surrender a fifth-rounder in 2008 in the deal.
The phrase "throwing in the towel" is already being tossed around Montreal circles.

More analysis later to come later tonight — but I will say that the "sellers' market" continues.

UPDATE A first-round pick and a half-decent depth prospect like Gorges seems like an awful lot to give up for Rivet, who while solid is merely a dependable No. 3 or 4 blueliner.

Still, the market is overpriced and the Sharks desperately needed defensive help given how green they are on the back end. Rivet was averaging 21 minutes per night with the Habs, and may work better in a support role with a stronger cast in San Jose.

Gorges, meanwhile, may not be a household name as a guy who went undrafted and then served in a depth role on a pretty good team, but he was an exceptional junior, serving as captain for his hometown 2004 Memorial Cup winning Kelowna Rockets team. He's just 23 years old and has already skated in 96 NHL games, and should have no problem staying up with the Canadiens in the future. He's undersized but has far better hands than he's generally given credit for, and could evolve into a secondary power-play type later in his career if given the opportunity.

There's some speculation that Montreal will flip the first-rounder received in this deal for an established veteran in order to make a bid for the playoffs, but with Rivet, Sheldon Souray and Andrei Markov all poised to exit stage left, you have to wonder if the Canadiens would be better served by planning for next season. The wheels fell off on this team weeks ago, and without Cristobal Huet, it's difficult to imagine they'll make any kind of run in the postseason.

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At 8:10 p.m., February 25, 2007, Anonymous Lyle Richardson said...

"Throwing in the towel?" Perhaps. Then again, maybe not. The team's been without Rivet for a few weeks now recovering from pneumonia, and he and Carbonneau supposedly butted heads earlier this season.

Gainey was gonna lose a d-man this summer to free agency anyway. I'm amazed he got a first rounder plus a young player for Rivet and a fifth rounder. Granted, this year's draft supposedly isn't that deep, but still, not a bad pickup for the long term.

And who knows? Maybe Gainey might flip that pick and a prospect for a rental player. Probably not Guerin, but maybe someone else. The Habs have supposedly been snooping around the Wild and Gauthier's been scouting their farm club. Maybe something else is going down.

We'll find out soon enough. After weeks of little activity, business is boomin' now!

At 8:44 p.m., February 25, 2007, Blogger D.R Green said...

I heard thats what he is going to do Lyle, It will be interesting to see

At 10:18 p.m., February 25, 2007, Blogger Paul said...

This leads me to believe that Gainey will do everything he can to retain Souray. Perhaps Sheldon should get in touch with Bryan McCabe's agent? This looks like a win for Montreal, especially if Gainey can flip that pick for an asset that immediately helps and doesn't expire at the end of the season.

At 11:01 p.m., February 25, 2007, Anonymous Lyle Richardson said...

McCabe is a comparable for Souray's agent, so you can bet it'll cost the Habs at least $5 mil per season to retain him, provided he wants to forego playing in California and stay with the money.

As for Markov "exiting stage left", I don't see that happening. The latest I've read in the Gazette suggests he wants to stay but he too will be pricey ($4 million per), but he's the guy Gainey wants to retain above all others.

So, Souray's a big maybe, but Markov will remain a Hab. Remember, you read it here first...;)


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