Josh Gorges’ signing: the good and the bad

Josh Gorges signed a new one year, $2.5 million contract with the Montreal Canadiens. It’s great news considering that they have avoided the always dreaded arbitration process, an experience that, more often than not, kills a relationship between a player and management.

But why only one year? From what we read and hear everywhere, Gorges is considered as one of the leaders on this team and he is very well liked and respected in the dressing room. And why announce it after 10 PM eastern time on a Friday night?

We’ve heard “rumours” that Gorges was asking too much money, in the neighbourhood of $4M per season. I’ve spoken to Gorges myself and he laughed it off, saying that they didn’t get close to that .

Others are now speculating that management wants to see how his knee has healed before offering him a longer term contract. That sounds a bit odd considering that we’re talking about the same management who just signed Andrei Markov for 3 years at close to $6M per season, a player who had just suffered 3 major injuries in the last couple of years, two of them to the same knee! It’s even more puzzling when taking into consideration that Gorges has been playing on one leg for the last 7 years, and that he did not want to go through with surgery, but did it because Habs’ management forced him to. We’re talking about the same guy who didn’t miss a game after taking a slap shot behind the head here folks!

According to several sources around the Canadiens with whom Gorges spoke to, the defenseman wanted to sign beyond his free agency years and stay in Montreal. If they never got close to the $4M mark and if Gorges wanted to stay, why couldn’t they come to an agreement?

All is not lost as the two parties can start negotiating again in January 2012. But something just doesn’t add up and I’m concerned that this could very well be Gorges’ last season with the Canadiens. And if that’s the case, one has to be at least a bit concerned about the effect it could have on the team. Gorges has many friends in this dressing room, his best friend being none other than… Carey Price, whose contract needs to be re-negotiated at season’s end.

This may be nothing but when you play with fire, the danger is there of getting burnt.

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