Being a Habs fan, I can certainly understand why many of you are outraged at this trade. I, on the other hand am not. In fact, my respect for Pierre Gauthier just went up another notch for the kahonies he displayed by making this trade.
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I will agree that Halak was fantastic in the playoffs but I will not agree that he was the only reason the Habs made it to the 3rd round. The real reason that they made it that far was because they finally came together as a TEAM and finally started to play for each other.
What would have happened if the defencemen never blocked all of those shots?
What would have happened if the PK units stunk it up like they did in Philly?
What would have happened if Cammelleri never scored 13 goals?
What would have happened if the other teams actually got shots up off the ice?
I am willing to bet that the outcomes of the first two series would have been much different. The Philly series clearly showcased the weaknesses that Halak has. I know the trade has hurt a lot of you (including me a bit) but I am asking that you look past the playoffs and try to see the bigger picture.
Let's start by taking a look at the career numbers for both goal tenders:
G W L T GA GAA S% SO
101 56 34 7 251 2.62 .919 9 - Halak
134 60 48 18 355 2.73 .912 4 - Price
As you can see, not much difference. The big thing to keep in mind is the fact that Halak is 25 and Price is only 22.
Now let's take a look at the size of the goal tenders:
Halak - Height: 5-11 Weight: 182lbs
Price - Height: 6-3 Weight: 219lbs
From that point of view, it's a bit easier to understand why Gauthier chose Price. It is expected that the size of goalie gear will be reduced in the future so having a bigger goalie to fill more of the net will be a key to success for all teams come that time.
Whether we like it or not, the upsides to Price are greater then those of Halak. I tend to equate Price's growth to that of Marc-Andre Fleury. If you think back, his first couple years were not that great either. Look at him now, 2 trips to the finals and a Cup under his belt.
Here are some other things to consider:
Compare the teams that each tender faced last year.
- You'll see that Price played most of the tougher opponents.
Compare how the team played in front of Price.
- I watched every Habs games last year and I can't count how many times the team left Price high and dry last year with poor defensive efforts. It's a bit unfair to judge a goal tender who never really got the support he needed from his team. However, it's easy to understand why the support wasn't there considering how many key injuries the Habs had last year. By the time everyone got healthy and chemistry developed, the season was more then 1/2 way done. Considering the fact that Price played the majority of his games during that time one can begin to understand the challenges he faced. Kind of hard to get consistent efforts from patch work lineups.
Choices are tough in a Salary Cap world.
- The simple fact is that the Habs could not afford to keep both and had to make a choice. By choosing Price the Habs have created more cap space that can be used to make improvements to the forwards such as resigning Plekanec.
No more goal tending controversies
- By trading Halak, the Habs have given Price a huge vote of confidence in his ability to be the #1 they know he can be. It also allows an opportunity for the Habs to sign a more veteran goal tender to work with Price as a back-up. Besides Huet, Price has never had that. If memory serves me right, Price played pretty well when Huet was around. A good example of someone who would fit the bill would be Martin Biron or Jose Theodore.
Now let's take a look at the Habs needs:
The main goal of the trade was to not take any NHL salary back. They accomplished that AND got two good prospects in return.
Eller is pretty much NHL ready and might even contend for a spot on the big club. It was anticipated that he would have cracked the Blues lineup next year. The other key is his size, he is 6'1" and is also a playmaking center. Everyone said the Habs needed more size at that position.
Schultz is coming off a great year for the WHL champion Calgary Hitmen. He is a 6'3" power forward with goal scoring prowess who is also not afraid to drop the gloves when he needs to. Everyone said the Habs needed more size.
These two guys will provide key development talent that the Habs were lacking.
Hopefully after reading all of this you will now have a better idea of the bigger picture and why Habs GM Pierre Gauthier chose to keep Carey Price over Jaroslav Halak. I've always said to never judge another man's decision poor until you have proof of it failing. I can't wait to see what's in store for 2010/2011.
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