"If you look closely, you can actually pinpoint the exact moment his heart breaks."
-- Bart Simpson
You have to feel for Josh Gorges today. The heart-and-soul foundation of Montreal's defense was crushed to learn that the team is actively trying to trade him--and, in fact, had a deal worked out with Toronto before he used his no-movement clause to put the kibosh on it.
"I want people to know that I never wanted to leave Montreal," Gorges told Montreal beat writer Dave Stubbs. "In no way has this been my decision. I have never asked for a trade, this is the call of Marc Bergevin. It's so hard to accept. I've always played my heart out in Montreal."
It's for that very reason that the thought of Gorges moving on has the team's fans in an uproar.
Gorges isn't a perfect player. He's not exactly lightning on skates, he doesn't bring anything to the table offensively, and his possession numbers are miserable--just 43.8 percent last year when his usual partner, P.K. Subban, wasn't carrying him.
But he's a 100 percenter, a guy who'll push his body to its limits to help his team win. He blocks shots fearlessly, can eat heavy minutes, and is a highly respected leader. That quantity may not carry much weight with the advanced stats kids, but it's part of the real value that the assistant captain brought to the team.
That doesn't make him untradeable, of course. Habs fans, no matter how much they loved watching him play, have to understand that he can be upgraded. And that maybe Bergevin has a reason for doing this.
In fact, trading Gorges makes sense if Bergevin has something brewing in free agency. Something big. Something that requires dumping a contract that was set to count $3.9 million against the cap for the next four seasons.
That doesn't make it any easier to see his heart break like this, but life in the NHL can sometimes be a cruel gig.
Bergevin was able to convince one player to waive his NMC today as he dealt Danny Briere to Colorado in exchange for P-A Parenteau and a 2015 fifth-round pick.
Tough for Habs fans to stay mad at the GM after that one.
The 36-year-old Briere was a massive disappointment in Montreal, spending most of his time on the fourth line this season as he skated just 12:46 per night--11th among Canadiens forwards. Aging legs hampered his effectiveness and there were questions about where he'd fit into the team's system in 2014-15.
Parenteau was hobbled by a knee injury this past season in Denver, playing just 55 games. He frustrated the club with his bouts of inconsistency, but still managed to score 14 goals and 33 points from the third line, where he projects to play in Montreal. That's still a lot to pay for that kind of production from a bottom-six player, but it's a lot easier to swallow there than on the fourth line.
Oh, and Parenteau is five years younger than Briere.
So why did Colorado make this deal?
Briere, a center, has one-year remaining on a deal that counts $4 million against the cap. Parenteau has two years left on a deal with the same hit. Briere won't bring much to the table as a fallback option if Paul Stastny skates as a free agent, but at least he'll be off the books at the end of next season.
Wow. Can't wait to see management try to gussy up this hog for Avs fans.