Making Room... but for who?
The Habs are getting a less talented player. So why make this trade? I can think of two reasons:
- Something is better than nothing. If Hossa wasn't going to make the team, Gainey might as well get something in return for him rather than lose him on waivers. Murray has already been assigned to the AHL by the Rangers, and will join the Bulldogs.
- Filling a need. The Canadiens are stacked potential second-line in scoring forwards, but lack gritty players and defensive types that tend to flesh out rosters. Murray is versatile (can play centre or the wing), and knows what his role will be if he ever cracks the NHL. He's supposed to be tough and gritty, but apparently is a Prince fan and has two cats. Hmmm, I wonder if this information was known by whoever from the Habs scouted him.
So, Hossa is out of the picture. That will clear the path for one of Higgins, Plekanec, Perezhogin, or Latendresse. I can't see Gainey keeping Latendresse. He's a patient guy and isn't likely to submit to fan or media pressure. If Gui makes the team it will be because he earned a spot ahead of one of the other guys, and the staff thinks he can help the club this season. Danius Zubrus jumped to the NHL at 18, and hasn't developed into the star that so many were expecting. Then again, Patrice Bergeron did the same, and he seems to be for real. Gainey will probably take the conservative path.