Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No Update on the Gorges Front

In a report on ESPN, the agent for Habs defenseman Josh Gorges indicated that there have yet to be talks about his client with Pierre Gauthier.

This has led to speculation that Gauthier may be looking to move the 26-year old rearguard over draft weekend, but this is a knee-jerk reaction unlikely to reflect the reality of the situation. While it is true that the cases of Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais, and Andrei Kostitsyn were handled quicker, their values were much easier to establish.

Gorges is an interesting case. There is a wide array of comparables available to try to get close to his value, but he's a truly unique player. A defense-first d-man with little offensive upside, Gorges is capable of soaking up significant and difficult minutes both on the penalty kill and at even strength. His price tag could have been significantly higher had he not missed the second half of the season with knee surgery, but as one of the younger men of the D group, the Canadiens must assess what his value will be in the future.

In my opinion, the reason it's a complicated case is because the Habs would like to lock him up long-term. Perhaps something like 4 years for close to $12M. This is far more complex of a negotiation process than, say, having Kostitsyn sign what would have been his qualifying offer.

So have no fear Gorges lovers. Joshy should be here to stay, it just make take a little time. The priority cases at this point become pending UFAs like Andrei Markov, James Wisniewski, and Roman Hamrlik who can walk out the door in a week and a half if nothing has been signed on the dotted line. The timetable for #26 extends right up to training camp in the Fall.

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