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Pierre Gauthier was named the General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens to fix the situation Bob Gainey put them in. With big contracts like Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta on the books for years to come, the Habs new GM had his work cut out building the Habs into a bonafide Stanley Cup contender.
However, the Habs became just that this off-season because of the play of number one goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who stole the job from Carey Price and ran with it, despite the team icing a depleted defense core.
So what is Gauthier's first off-season move? Trading the one and only reason the Canadiens upset Washington and Pittsburgh in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
I'm not saying Gauthier shouldn't have traded Halak, the fact of the matter is Halak is an RFA who would have wanted a big pay raise and the Habs may not have been able to afford him. My problem is the timing. With the draft eight days away, teams are still accessing their needs and dealing Halak this far before the draft was a serious mistake.
While Halak scored the Habs two mediocre prospects, neither has the potential to be a game-stealer, something Halak proved he was this season and deep into the playoffs. Bob Gainey's asking price for Halak this season was a number one center (Jeff Carter) and when the Flyers wouldn't push, Gainey walked away. Lars Eller is no Jeff Carter and will never evolve into anything close.
So the Habs enter the draft with Carey Price, who showed no signs of being a number one goalie last season, as their top netminder. They also have a team who is too close to the cap to significantly improve. The Habs may have made the final four this season, but with their best player now in St. Louis, the future no longer looks as promising in Montreal as it did yesterday.