Sometimes, the best trades are the ones you don’t make. Although it may be true at times, when you have 18 free agents on your team including 9 with no restrictions, and your team has been struggling for a few weeks, when your team has lost 3 of its top 4 defensemen for the season, not moving and watch the parade go by could have a negative effect on a team. If we add to that the fact that this team is 24th in the NHL in goals for per game and that it was manhandled by a few teams recently, especially on the road, and that the Bruins, Capitals, Penguins, Lighting and Hurricanes have all improved, and that your team has over $4M to spend, it is realistic to ask questions.
But what could have Gauthier done? The Kings gave a good defensive prospect, a first round pick and a third round pick for Dustin Penner, a 6’4″ and 225lbs winger. Some will claim that it’s too much but is it really? Wouldn’t you have sacrificed Weber and our two picks for him, who still has at least another year on his contract?
And what kept Gauthier from addressing the lack of toughness in his line-up? While the best like Neil, Clarkson and Zonopka might be expensive, it looks as though Winchester in St. Louis wasn’t. Aren’t there an abundance of physical players on teams who won’t be making the playoffs?
So let’s say that Gauthier didn’t want to « overpay »… With nine UFA, wouldn’t it have been better to sacrifice a Hamrlik, a Wizniewski, a Halpern or a Gill in order to get younger? The other teams did it. What are we afraid off in Montreal? To be criticized for making the wrong decision? If that’s the case, you are in the wrong business gentlemen and mostly, in the wrong city!
Did you notice that every trade made by Gauthier this season has been to patch for an injury, and none to improve the team? Aren’t there holes in this line-up, needs that should be addressed? Oh I hear some say that we must hang on to our picks and prospects… so why give them up to get UFA’s Wisniewski and Sopel? Why not get guys who are still under contract? At least you address one issue for next year at the same time! Nothing against those players by the way, none at all, but there are some bad decisions being made here.
So keep on protecting the administration, in believing that everything they do is great, it’s your opinion and I’ll respect it. But I’ll tell you one thing: other teams in a similar position didn’t sit and watch the parade. They acted. They paid the necessary price. Let’s just hope now that Carey Price follows up with similar performances as Jaroslav Halak had last year, otherwise the playoffs will be short… if we qualify that is!