Yesterday, a coworker asked me why I was slapping myself in the face. It was an attempt to wake up from the hilarious dream I was having in which Bob Gainey, GM of the Montreal Canadiens, traded Christopher Higgins for Scott Gomez of the New York Rangers. Usually it's up for debate who "wins" any given trade. However, you can send the debate team home for this one. Gainey got fleeced.
Then I heard the rest of the trade...
Gainey obtained Scott Gomez along with Tom Pyatt and Mike Busto (both throw ins) from the New York Rangers for Christopher Higgins, Ryan McDonagh, Pavel Valentenko, and Doug Janik. Ouch. Gainey might want to check his back pocket too, because he just got robbed. This flirts with dangerously-bad, Mike Milbury-esque trades.
Why, you ask, is this trade so slanted in favor of the Rangers? I love lists, so here we go:
Oops #1) Gainey didn't get what he was looking for. This trade was supposed to distract all of the dejected Montreal fans who were forlorn over Gainey's inability to trade for Vincent Lecavalier. Instead, Gainey got a player with half the size and half the skill. Gomez is a slick little speedster, but he is by no means big, nor strong, nor as productive offensively as Lecavalier.
Oops #2) The big name going the other way. Higgins hasn't put up the same kind of numbers as Gomez, but his value is higher as a goal scorer and a physical player. Not to mention a younger and likely more appropriately paid one (I'll get to that later). Higgins won't have to do much to exceed the expectations set for Gomez.
Oops #3) The other names. To Montreal, Pyatt and Busto are decent prospects at best. They're both in the minors right now (Busto is in the ECHL which if you didn't know, is second tier minors). Safe bet is neither gets more than a handful of games in the NHL other than as a role player. Going to New York, we have McDonagh, a first round draft pick and Montreal's 1A prospect. What?! Why?! Why trade him too?! McDonagh wasn't just icing on top of the cake that is Christopher Higgins, he's another cake! Not to mention Valentenko, a big defender whose Russian team says is ready for the NHL, or Doug Janik who actually has 161 NHL games under his belt already. This won't just hurt the Habs next season, it will hurt for years to come as McDonagh smashes tiny Habs-forwards into the glass.
Oops #4) The money. Montreal got rid of an RFA who they could have resigned for significantly less than the nearly $7.4 million per season they'll be paying for Gomez over the next 5 years. I'll let you reach for those smelling salts... That's right, Scott Gomez who has had 1 season with more than 20 goals makes nearly $2.3 million more than Marian Hossa! Take a big whiff of those salts people. While the rest of the league is worried about being pushed to the cap ceiling as it lowers onto them like an Indiana Jones booby trap, Gainey goes out and gets the most ridiculously overpaid player he can.
Oops #5) Montreal fans hate this trade. I won't say all of them do, but most of them do and definitely the smart ones. Message boards around the interweb have Habs fans already calling for Gainey's head on a pike.
So to recap, here's Gainey's report card on this trade:
Gomez not a #1 Center = Fail
Higgins has more value = Fail
Value of prospects traded = Fail
Taking on a ridiculously expensive contract = Fail
Pissed off your fan base = Fail
What could have compelled Bob Gainey to make a trade so bad that it nearly made Pierre McGuire physically wretch during a broadcast? I have no idea, but maybe if I keep slapping I'll wake up...