Sunday, July 3, 2011
Habs Rumour Update (Gomez) - At Your Own Risk
Take this post for what it's worth. As we've said before, this blog is not about rumour mongering to attract hits, and while we have in past broken stories, we won't post things unless we're nearly certain of their accuracy.
This story comes from semi-controversial Twitter user incarceratedbob. Like him or hate him, the guy is no Eklund. He has broken countless trades and signings across multiple professional sport leagues with accuracy unheard of outside of the big network story-breakers (McKenzie, Dreger, etc.). So when he posts something, one shouldn't take it for gospel, but it definitely has some credibility.
iBob has gone to Twitter with a story that Pierre Gauthier and the Habs brass made a huge secretive pitch to Brad Richards on Friday, and were in fact the only reason that the decision to sign with the New York Rangers wasn't announced right away that evening. iBob reports that Gauthier had a trade lined up with one of the three teams barred by Scott Gomez's NTC, hoping that the overpaid center would agree to waive his clause. However, it seems Saturday morning that Gomez decided against leaving Montreal, forcing the Canadiens to pull out of the Richards sweepstakes, and consequently making his decision to join the Rangers an easier one.
How likely is all of this? Sounds like a long shot, but there have been murmurs about each of these pieces the past week or so, and now seeing them repeated by iBob leads me to believe there was at least a little fire at the source of all this smoke. Reputed RDS journalists confirmed the Habs had interest in Richards, so there must have been SOMETHING going on, right? This does NOT mean it was necessarily ever close to happening, or that Gomez or anyone is on their way out of Montreal in the near future, but it does lead to some fun speculation.
Either way, looking at the 2011-12 season, if Gomez is to be moved, a new top 2 line center must be brought in from elsewhere. I like both Lars Eller and David Desharnais, but neither is quite ready nor a guarantee to be ready over the course of this season. It is thus much more likely for the team to play wait and see with Gomez this year, giving him another shot at it but on a short leash. While his cap hit remains the same, his actual salary drops significantly following this season, making him a better option for smaller market teams next summer.
Meanwhile, in the latest updates, iBob states that the Habs still have some trade feelers out there and may have a non-Gomez deal on the horizon. One would imagine the likes of Jaroslav Spacek or Travis Moen may be on the block to create cap room to upgrade the defense whenever the opportunity presents itself. If there IS a Gomez deal out there, however, it isn't hard to think one of the teams a ways off from hitting the salary cap floor could be interested if the pot was sweetened enough. Here's looking at you, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, Winnipeg Jets, and Phoenix Coyotes (amongst others).