Assessing the GM

Martin Leclerc, at ruefrontenac.com, looks at Pierre Gauthier’s first year as general manager.

Leclerc offers his own opinions on the moves Gauthier has made.

Here’s a chronological list

Feb. 12, 2010: Four days after taking over from Bob Gainey, Gauthier obtains Dominic Moore from Florida for a second-round pick in the 2011 draft.

March 4: Gauthier trades Matt D’Agostini to St. Louis for Aaron Palushaj.

June 17: The Big One: Jaro Halak to the Blues for Lars Eller and Ian Schultz.

July 1: Alex Auld signs as a free-agent

July 29: Gauthier ships Sergei Kostitsyn to Nashville for Dustin Boyd and Dan Ellis

Aug. 2: Alexandre Picard signs as a FA.

Sept. 7: FA Jeff Halpern signs.

Nov. 11: Ryan O’Byrne traded to Colorado for junior prospect Michaël Bournival.

Dec. 28: James Wisniewski obtained from the Islanders for a second-round pick in 2011 and a fifth-rounder in 2012.

Dec. 31: Maxim Lapierre traded to Anaheim for depth defenceman Brett Festerling and a fifth-round choice in 2012.

The dossier should also include the long-term signing of Tomas Plekanec and the lengthy negotiation that culminated in a two-year deal for Carey Price.

So as the trading deadline draws nigh, how do you think Pierre Gauthier has done so far?

318 Comments

  1. shiram says:

    I’d settle for a scoring power forward that can say : merci

  2. Max_a_million says:

    2nd round picks are not as valuable as many people around here think by the way.  Only 1/4 of 2nd round picks every play a game in the NHL, let alone have any impact.  Acquiring a valauable player for even half a season is usually worth more than a 2nd round pick. 

  3. HabFanSince72 says:

    Halak is rated 28th in the league in save %age.

    There are 30 teams in the league.

    Almost all the trades were designed to move someone out of town, so it is hard to say he “lost” them. He sure couldn’t have gotten more for SK74.

     

     

     

  4. SeriousFan09 says:

    The Bowmans told Dale Tallon to sign irresponsible contracts and mess up the RFA situation so that they had to trade away so many good players to get back under the cap? Um sorry buddy but you’re off by a country mile on this. Tallons financial mismanagement triggered the collapse of the Hawks.

     

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  5. andrewberkshire says:

    Uhhhh… Put the drink down, Habs_Guru.

  6. fbkj says:

    and I went on to tell her how I would wear her face like a mask as I do my little kooky dance

  7. observer says:

    you mean the 11th refreshment stand. has mush staler food than the first stand in the stadium where they used to eat at.

  8. observer says:

    as i said – the bowmans did a great job of completely destroying the best team in the league and did it within months.

  9. Bill J says:

    Your nothing if not predictable…

    When I saw this thread’s headline title…. I instantly thought of you, frankly… I was a bit disappointed you were not the first to reply to it.

    But you know what.  If you think Bowman is a hack who takes credit for previous people’s work.  You and I have nothing to talk about as we are not on the same level of Hockey knowledge.  Clearly one of us is out to lunch.

    Oh BTW – say what you want about Bowman.

    But the facts do not lie about him.  His teams WIN when they were NOT winning without him. 

  10. kempie says:

    I think Borat said it best when he said “Wowoweewow!”

  11. HardHabits says:

    As long as he provokes “et le but” often he’ll do fine

  12. Mattyleg says:

    I don’t understand how you can think that the coach who got us to the Conference Finals last year is not good.

    And I also don’t know why you think that Kirk Muller would be better. He has no experience, and as we saw with Carbo, inexperienced coaches are not usually a good idea.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  13. HardHabits says:

    The 1st move was slipping rohypnol in your beer. The 2nd move can’t be mentioned here as this is a family oriented web site.

  14. Mattyleg says:

    That is really plumbing new depths of clownishness.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  15. king ddd says:

    geez, NHL would destroy the opposing team. just imagin the centres crosby,malkin,sedin,kesler

    wingers ov, stamkos, sedin. and on d you know the rest.

    who is on the other team?

  16. HardHabits says:

    so close to the kool-aid stand

  17. punkster says:

    LOL. I give Boone a C for the first move and a B for the second. The C is because it was purely vindictive (not that it wasn’t deserved at the time 😉 and the B because it was big of him to issue a re-instatement. I missed Mike during his benching. Once the tanks were put away there was no controversies to battle. He kind of fills that void 😉

    ***Subbang!!!***

  18. Timo says:

    There was a second move?

  19. SeriousFan09 says:

    Tallon would still have his job if he could work a calculator and read his calender. Giant contracts to Campbell and Huet that hurt the team badly and his failing to send out qualifying offers to RFAs on time nearly crippled the Cup Team before they even began their 09-10 season that saw them win the Cup.

     

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  20. fbkj says:

    good idea but, the leagues have no formal relationship with one another and um, the fact a lot of the best nhl’ers are eastern european, that might be a bit of a touchy setup

  21. HardHabits says:

    I have an idea for the All-Star game. Have the NHL all-stars play the KHL all-stars or if the KHL can’t match the NHL’s depth and talent, than perhaps the NHL’s best versus the KHL’s best with the best players from the rest of the world’s professional hockey league’s.

    At least it would be a real game. Might be worth seeing something happen with bragging rights and international trash talking going on.

  22. punkster says:

    Gets kinda lonely out there in left field, doesn’t it?

    ***Subbang!!!***

  23. habstrinifan says:

    DUH????

  24. habstrinifan says:

    OK! OK! I know you all are fed up re my Neil/Phillips posting. But geez I am so psyched about the ‘perfect storm cluster of events’ that lead me to believe that we can get these two players. And think about it. Go to bed tonight and make up your line-up for tomorrow and include Neil and Phillips on it. Tell me if you’re not sitting down in front your TV tomorrow feeling like an effing gorilla ready for a rumble if they want it but ready to see ‘push back’ hockey.

  25. Will Longlade says:

    A lot of the PG deals some posters are bashing don’t withstand any serious scrutiny. Their opinions are simply based on emotion. Look at the facts! How has the team progressed versus last year and what adversities have they had to overcome to do it? If you do that PG (and BG) get a pretty darn good grade.   

  26. HardHabits says:

    Boone’s 1st move with you was better than his 2nd one. :p

  27. HardHabits says:

    Halpern is an upgrade on Moore in another sense:

    Halpern 58.1 FO%

    Moore 53.2 FO%

  28. habstrinifan says:

    Ok you just mad eone other way PG gets an A from me. Bring Robinson on board. Even if he has to sit JM down and say “listen JM, he’s here or you are NOT”.

    I think Robinson will work with JM. I dont think JM is secure enought to accept unless he is pushed.

     

  29. jimmy shaker says:

    Halpern has done a very good job in letting us all forget about Moore and Metro.  Although Metro did seem to have a tad bit more skill, halpern has the defensive game, the faceoff prowess and the cheaper contract.  I would like this guy back for sure and deserving of a raise to nice cool mill.

     

    Shaker

  30. habstrinifan says:

    By himself he does not add what we really need. And if you get him you cant get anyone else.

    Yesterday I posted three acquisition scenarios for PG.

    1… iGINLA/2.. Nel AND Phillips/3… Vermette.

    I would only go after Vermette if I cant do the first two.

  31. habstrinifan says:

    ooops! Pleks of course.

    Shows how much Pleks flyies under the radar eh. But of course he is untouchable too.

     

  32. Will Longlade says:

    I’m not a big fan of either of those guys. A player I like a lot for a playoff run is an ex-Sens player, Antoine Vermette. He was one of the Sens best players when they went to the Stanley Cup finals many years ago and he still brings it every night. Though I don’t think the Habs can pry him away from Columbus.  

  33. habstrinifan says:

    Draft picks, Weber, anyone in AHL now or juniors and either AK or Pouliot. I wont give up Price/Subban/Pacioretty. I wont give up any of the three.. Gomez Gionta Cam.. If we gave up any of the three Cam/Gomez/Gionta then we diminish the value of adding Neil and Phillips. Think about it. Neil/Phillips/Cam’Gomez/Gionta/Pac/Subban/Gill.. i mean that is a team wher ethe whole WILL be greater than the sum of the parts.

    If we could give up Ryan McDonaugh we could give up Gallagagher.. maybe even Tinordi( dont really want to) etc. LeBlanc for sure. Basically draft picks, prospects, and anyone other than players (except those mentioned above from current team).

    I would be salivating if I could look say after Feb and see my line up looking like I described.

    WOW!

  34. habstrinifan says:

    Draft picks, Weber, anyone in AHL now or juniors and either AK or Pouliot. I wont give up Price/Subban/Pacioretty. I wont give up any of the three.. Gomez Gionta Cam.. If we gave up any of the three Cam/Gomez/Gionta then we diminish the value of adding Neil and Phillips. Think about it. Neil/Phillips/Cam’Gomez/Gionta/Pac/Subban/Gill.. i mean that is a team wher ethe whole WILL be greater than the sum of the parts.

    If we could give up Ryan McDonaugh we could give up Gallagagher.. maybe even Tinordi( dont really want to) etc. LeBlanc for sure. Basically draft picks, prospects, and anyone other than players (except those mentioned above from current team).

    I would be salivating if I could look say after Feb and see my line up looking like I described.

    WOW!

  35. fbkj says:

    this is a hindsight move, which dont count

     

  36. fbkj says:

    “whats that? you want backes? ughhhh k well see what happens with niemi, tx bye!”

  37. Timo says:

    All I have to say about Gauthier is… eh. For me he is not here nor there… Halak deal was BS, SK wasn’t good either… Wiz is ok i suppose… Eller should be in the minors but could be ok… signing Price was good. Pleks deal is only good if he shows same worth in the playoffs.

    Now, if Gauthier manages to get rid of Gomez then he definitely gets an A from me.

  38. jimmy shaker says:

    I’ll say he’s done a very decent job since taking over.  Nothing over zealous ala burkie, but very calculated and reserved.  I’d give him a B+, but if he dumps JM and promotes Muller and brings in Robinson than I’ll move him up to the A department.  I know this won’t happen, but we can always dream on here right?

     

    Shaker

  39. Rugger says:

    Okay, but what are you willing to give up?

  40. Displaced says:

    He could have keep both if he moved OB earlier.

    Who’s leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  41. Former Jets Fan says:

    There was the compensatory pick for not signing David Fischer, which is the one now owned by the Isles.

  42. Displaced says:

    It’s a trade for current production (or lack thereof) versus future value (or one that fails to produce).  Fair.  Just making the point that we traded a starting goalie (yes, 28th ranked) for a fourth line player (at the moment) who averages minimal minutes and few points. 

    Moore was a marginal loss.  A second rounder for less than 50 games. 

    D’ag is playing for a AHL-er who might not get called up – ever.

    Max for futures.

    Where are the wins?

    BUT — again – the team has more points, so it’s difficult to grade is performance.

    Who’s leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  43. habstrinifan says:

    Gauthier do you want an A+ at the end of this hockey year.. then LISTEN to this.

    As said on the Melnyk show (team 990).. the fortunes of the other teams in the league are such that this IS A GOOD YEAR to make a move that will press certain buttons on your team.

    If you could land Iginla.. do it. But I doubt that that is even possible.

    Ok so you cant get Iginla.

    Do not go for Reghr. Do not go for Weiss. Do not go for players like that. Players slated to be A-1 players but have not cemented that reputation.

    Go for Chris Neil and Chris Phillip….. together.

    They bring exactly what your team does not have. They bring size, dedication, no ‘elite tag’ pressure. What they do is add two individuals to your team that WILL improve the overall prospects for your team against ANY OPPONENT.

    And salary wise and demand wise they are very very affordable. Get those two players on your team and you will end up with an A-PLUS.

    You do not need a STAR.. you need teeth in your team.. offensively, defensively and temparament and grit wise.

    Chris Neil and Chris Phillip wii do it.

  44. Shiloh says:

    Hard to evaluate Gauthier just yet. He was saddled with a 2nd or 3rd-line player eating about 15% of the entire team’s cap space, so he hasn’t had the room (or the time) to put his mark on the club. Wiz was a good get – and Domenic Moore was such a good forward to have in the playoffs. Sure, we didn’t resign him but the revenue the club got for three playoff rounds more than made up for the short-term rental.

    Gauthier is doing OK – and there’s been no big screw-ups either.

  45. NickDags says:

    I would give Gauthier a B- in his first year as GM.

    I like his signings and I like the trade for Wiz but I didn’t like the Sergei trade or the Halak trade. I think we could of gotten more for SK, we essentially only got Boyd who is playing in the minors, or we could of kept SK and tried to harness his raw talent and try and change his attitude. He’s playing great in Nashville and has more points then his brother.

    I also didn’t like the trade of Halak, I did like Gauthier choosing Price over Halak, that was a great decision as we can all see this season. I however don’t think we got enough in return, Halak was at the top of his game and was the best player in the 2010 playoffs I think we could of got at least an established top 6 forward. But I guess we have to wait and see how Eller turns out in the future.

  46. Habit in the west says:

    No impressed. His patience, the selection of what they are trading for, his scouting staff, it has to start to make you wonder. I don’t think there is one B move, C’s at best. He hasn’t improved the team beyond Wisniewski. Sorry, unimpressed so far, considering all the moves made under his guidance. They are a few quality moves from making a difference, turning this team into a playoff tough team. We’ll see, good luck Pierre.

  47. Propwash says:

    Halak vs Eller = fair trade, imo. Halak isn’t exactly lighting it up so far, and Eller isn’t scoring a million goals. Pretty even if you want to look at it shortsightedly.

     

    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  48. Propwash says:

    Gauthier has done a good job for what he has had in hand so far.

     

    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  49. HabFanSince72 says:

    I was replying to “Halak playing a major role”.

    Of course maybe he meant Halak playing a major role in keeping the Blues in the doldrums.

     

    Not that I am gloating about it. I like Jaro.

  50. Arrow77 says:

    Halak’s value was never that good. For all the hooplas St. Louis made when they got him, they knew there was some risk involved otherwise they wouldn’t have risk losing him by offering two unproven players. Maybe Gauthier could have gotten more for the trade but I doubt it would have been that much better.

  51. Propwash says:

    Getting Backes for Halak would have been impossible. We got a good player in return.

     

    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  52. PeterD says:

    Robert AKA SeriousFan09 has started a very thoughtful and well crafted review of the Ghosts first year and the helm of the Habs…Part one can be reada at the link below.  Thanks Robert…good work

    I’ve been writing a blow-by-blow review of Gauthier’s first year as the Habs GM and examining the organization’s 30 most significant moves since he took on the job, here’s Part 1 for those interested.

    http://bit.ly/fODk1P

     

  53. 24 Cups says:

    I hear what your saying, but without a ticket you can’t win the lottery.  A lot of 2nd rounders never pan out but then again you sometimes pick up a Stastny, Lucic or Subban.

  54. Arrow77 says:

    Leclerc forgets to mention the impact of the rookies when he evaluates Gauthier’s (and Gainey’s) work. I think the team would be much better and score more goals this year if Markov and Gorges were still playing. A team that has Wisniewski as a 5th or 6th defenseman (closer to 4th or 5th in my mind) has a very good defense. A powerplay with both Markov and Wisniewski at the point would also make many of our forwards look much better.

    As for the rest, I think we can qualify Auld’s impact as positive, even if it’s not his performances that make it so. The climate has really improved without a goalie controversy and Price’s play as been excellent. Other than Gomez, we don’t really have any unmovable player and the contracts ending this summer will give us some room for free agents.

    I’d give Gauthier a solid B+.

  55. PeterD says:

    Three toughest jobs in hockey…

    1) Starting goaltender for Montreal Canadiens

    2) Head coach for Montreal Canadiens

    3) GM for Montreal Canadiens

    Good job so far Pierre…now get us a scoring power forward…and if that forward happens to be French then you win over both sides of the fans and media.

     

  56. Max_a_million says:

    You realize St. Louis is currently in suck town with Halak as their expensive goalie right?

  57. scrowe21 says:

    So you’re judging the trade based on how Halak is playing now? Interesting..

    Bottom line is, Halaks trade value went way up after the playoffs last year, and thats when he was traded.. should have got Backes.

  58. rogieshan says:

    How can you argue the Moore deal? Sure he’s no longer here, but without him team might’ve been bounced in the 1st round. By your assessment, the Wiz deal would be a lost too if he isn’t resigned. 

  59. Max_a_million says:

    Good point.  The financials are often overlooked.  The trade makes it possible to lock up Pleks for his prime years. 

  60. ds says:

    Pretty good job by Gauthier, Moore came in handy last year, Halak’s trade kept Plex, Wiz was a steal.

     

    It’s good to see after the mid 90s-2000s disaster that MTL was in, Gainey & Gauthier have crafted a team that is not the best but is definitely a darkhorse for the cup.  A few moves and this team is a legit stanley cup contender. 

  61. kevin m says:

    How many 2nd round picks did the Habs have in 2011? 1 for Moore & 1 for the Wiz

  62. shiram says:

    Halak was a now solution for the Blue.

    Eller is possibly a future solution for the Habs. You cannot really evaluate it untill Eller has a few seasons under his belt.

    Shcultz though, thats another story.

  63. Max_a_million says:

    I think PG has done a great job.  He has decisiveness, and seems to know what he is looking for. 

    Some fo the trades that might look bad in retrospect may be necessary in the short term.  SK was a cancer, doesn’t matter if we got nothing back for him.  The coach wasn’t playing O’Byrne better to have a decent prospect while the getting is good and before we lose him for nothing (same as D’agostini)

    Pleks, Wiz, Moore, all great deals. 

    I think acquiring Eller and Schultz is very much underrated.  Acquiring talented players who are young and cheap is a very valuable commodity.  Even if there were more NHL calibre players avaialble, their cost would be problematic on our balance books. 

     

    Not perfect, but really really good.  B+ sounds about right.  We will see who he trades for this month.  It will definitely be before the deadline, and it go a long way to defining his year.  It will be tougher now that Pitts, Boston, … have more cap room available with injuries to compete in the market. 

  64. LA Loyalist says:

    If he makes a significant (tough larger scoring fwd or a decent defender) by Feb 28, AND signs the Whiz, then a B. 

    If Wiz walks at year end, and we’ve done nothing to improve the team by Feb 28th, C- and a long summer to think about it.

    To be fair no one could have predicted that both Markov and Gorges would be gone for the year, so that need was not obvious and big points for getting Wiz very cheaply.

    The scoring and toughness upfront, however, is no secret and is still unaddressed, preferably not through a rental but there may not be a choice.

    Finally, go back and read Robert Rice’s analysis. Very interesting.

     

  65. Displaced says:

    PG has lost every deal (to date for you Eller fans – Halak playing a major role vs. Eller playing a minor role with potential) except the Wiz deal.  But the team has more points.  Hard to say what his grade should be

    Who’s leg do I h.ave to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  66. scrowe21 says:

    hmm..forgot they lost their 2nd pick again this year. I hope they can get Jensen in the first round.

    locking up Pleky was the best move, but Pleky wanted to resign here anyway so I don’t know how much credit you can give him, although his contract is great.. but man theres some bad trades there.

  67. Duracell3 says:

    Spacek has another year on his contract….so are you buying him out in this setup?

  68. Duracell3 says:

    The AHL might be doing this next year actually.

    As for the NHL game, it wouldn’t be fair at all, the NHL salary would be many times that of the opposition and for good reason. There are very few players not in the NHL who have superstar type potential, versus a whole team of them. Nabokov was one at one point; the same could be said for Jagr. The others are all just very young and still playing in the leagues they grew up in and have yet to make the transfer, and are simply not that great yet. The only elite level type offensive players that would compete on a small rink are maybe Radulov, Cervenka, Morozov, and maybe Mozyakin, but he’s a bit small, I’d take Eller to beat him up. In a single game of course it could go either way, but I’d rather see a touring type of thing, say Kazan, SKA, Omsk or Salavat playing 2-4 games in the US much like the NHL has been doing on the other side, albeit I don’t think it has nearly the draw.  Plus, the logistics of any of this is highly suspect.

    As for inter-league trash talk, I’m not sure anyone cares. There are only maybe 4 teams in the KHL who could really consistently beat NHL teams that have 2 checking lines, on big ice at that. I would suspect games on small ice would expose their goalies even more which would not be pretty. And depending on how the NHL team is chosen, there may very well be a majority of Euros anyway.

  69. king ddd says:

    unfortunately, i d rather trade him. we probably wont get much in return but  we clear cap space and bogosian is younger, meaner better than spacek at his age now

  70. Timo says:

    No wonder I can’t remember a thing.

  71. Chris says:

    It is absolutely impossible to say who has elite level talent in the foreign leagues.  Until they play on NHL ice, we can’t really know.

    Brian Rafalski isn’t a superstar, but he’s certainly a perennial contender for the All-Star game.  Tim Thomas is doing great, against all odds based on his background.  Johan Franzen is another who came over fairly late to little fanfare who developed into a great NHL player.


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