With all the staff sightings between between Montreal and Calgary this year, it's hard not to think 'where there's smoke there's fire.' Then you look at the names involved - Tanguay for Ryder - and think it's typical nutty media speculation. Tanguay automatically comes up because he's French. Ryder is mentioned because he's the goat du jour in Montreal.
Unlike most of the media regarding rumours like this one, McKenzie does recognize the real motivation here: the Flames need 08/09 cap space (which isn't exactly Earth-shattering news - BoA's Matt has talked about it for months) and the Habs have 08/09 cap space. To clear 08/09 cap space via trade, the only two realistic options are Tanguay and Aucoin. Both have no-trade clauses. Neither can be given up entirely for futures because Sutter can't weaken the team's chances this season. And Sutter can always clear 08/09 cap space by simply not re-signing UFAs Huselius, Langkow, Conroy and Yelle. It's not like he must make a trade.
From Montreal's perspective, they can't add a whole lot of salary for this season. To take on Aucoin or Tanguay, Montreal would have to give up a significant 07/08 salary. The Habs only have one player who fits the criteria, and that's Ryder. I would think the Flames would be a little wary of Ryders, given their experience with Daniel.
Aucoin doesn't make a whole lot of sense for the Habs. There are already more players than roster spots on the blueline, and more importantly the team's salary distribution is already defense-heavy. In addition to Ryder, the Habs would have to send one or more defencemen back. Brisebois, Streit and the youngsters are the only ones who won't take up much 08/09 salary. Something like Aucoin and Yelle for Ryder and Streit is possible, I suppose. I can't imagine why Gainey (who is dealing from a position of strength, being the one with the cap space) might make a deal that widens the F/D imbalance.
Tanguay makes more sense for Montreal (duh). He would even if he weren't French. The team's even strength scoring (Tanguay's bread & butter) has been improving, but it's still below average. The problem here, obviously, is that Ryder is nowhere near the player Tanguay is. That's true even if Ryder is on pace for his usual 30 goals. Gainey would have to sweeten the deal with significant futures. Even then, I have a hard time believing that Sutter would be willing to surrender such a big contributor this season.
For Calgary, there must be a better option out there for an impending UFA on a team with 08/09 cap space. Marian Hossa, perhaps?