So, after a summer of waiting on the sidelines, Alex Tanguay has finally signed, with the Tampa Bay Lightning and I think that is a GREAT move for them.
When Gary Bettman said, at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, that he had a trade to announce and that it was Tanguay to Montreal for a 1st and 2nd round pick, I was ecstatic! Tanguay has always been a solid contributor to whatever team he has played on, he is a defensively responsible, perennial plus (as in plus/minus) player, and he cut his teeth playing with world class champions such as Forsberg and Sakic and Roy. To me, this was a guy that could only help push Montreal over the top of the championship hump.
Well, 10 or so months later, and a disastrous season for the Habs behind us, we know that things didn't turn out the way I thought. That being said, I think that Tanguay was actually one of the few bright spots on the 2008-2009 Habs team. Not only was he on pace to be a top point producer, but he was responsible in all three zones and was a consistent performer...something that could NOT be said for pretty much anyone else on the team...except for maybe Josh Gorges.
I remember watching him game in and game out and noticing what an excellent player he was and what phenomenal on-ice vision he had. I was happy that he was with our team. When he went down with a serious injury after being destroyed by the then Lightning's Evgeni Arthuykin (ironic that he will now play with the Lightning, no??), the Habs suffered a loss from which they were never able to recover. That, and the injury to Lang were, in my opinion, the two biggest losses, by the Habs, last year.
Leading into the free agent season, in my mind, Tanguay was #1 on my arm-chair GM's list of players to keep in town. Needless to say, that when I saw Gainey walk away from Tanguay, without even making him an offer, I was befuddled and disappointed. I could not - and still cannot - understand how you can send a 1st AND 2nd round pick to Calgary for a proven top-six forward, and then just let him walk away for nothing. That, to me, is a huge loss and a huge misstep, by Gainey.
Gainey has made some good moves during his tenure in Montreal, but he has also made some bad ones....some REALLY bad ones. Having 10 unrestricted free agents all season last season, trading for Tanguay and then letting him go for nothing, losing Komisarek for nothing, losing Souray for nothing, losing Streit for nothing, trading McDonough, etc. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that Gainey has had no shortage of missteps. But that is not the point here. The point is that a 1st AND 2nd round pick, is a hefty price to pay but one that I believe Tanugay was worth. All he did, all season long, was prove that Gainey was justified in making that trade too.
But alas, Tanguay will be skating alongside Lecavalier and/or St. Louis and/or Stamkos this year, and will be a point per game guy, if not more, in my opinion. For a team that was in such turmoil last season, I have to say that I think the Lightning might end up being one of the most improved teams in the Eastern conference. Lighting fans, get ready for some action because Tanguay will quickly become a favorite player of yours.
Don't believe me? Take a look at this goal from last year:
Congrats, Lightning fans, Tanguay is going to be a pleasure for you all to watch.