The Future is Bright in Montreal

By now you’ve already heard the news that defenceman Hal Gill has been traded to the Nashville Predators along with a conditional fifth round draft pick in 2013  in exchange for forwards Blake Geoffrion and Robert Slaney, as well as a second round draft pick in 2012.

My initial reaction was sadness and a puzzled look on my face, never having heard of the two forwards the Canadiens acquired (okay, maybe I live under a rock sometimes).

After some quick research and more thought, I couldn’t be more thrilled.

With Gill being an unrestricted free agent, it was only a matter of time before something had to happen with him.

As my step dad predicted last week, he was traded.

It makes sense, seeing as we either would have lost him for no return or would have had to shell out the big bucks to keep him in town.

In return we pick up two young forwards who are 6’2″; one whom bleeds bleu-blanc-rouge and has Bernie “Boom-Boom” Geoffrion and Howie Morenz running through his veins, the other is a good Canadian boy.

According to the current roster on Canadiens.com, 19 of 25 players listed are over 6’0″ and 15 of them weigh in at 200 pounds or more.

For a team that’s been criticized for lacking in size all season long, those are certainly big numbers.

With only seven players over the age of 30 on the Habs roster, it’s looks like the beginning of a great future in Montreal.

Okay, here’s the part where the girly hockey fan in me shines through so close your eyes for two seconds boys.

By adding Gill to their line up, the Preds continue to bolster their roster of “sexiest NHL players.” To be fair, we still have a number of stunners on our team a la Josh Gorges, Carey Price and Max Pacioretty to name a few.

Okay, girl comments are done, you can start reading again guys.

What we gain:

As I already mentioned the biggest trade off is return on a UFA in size and youth. Geoffrion played 22 game with Nashville this season, where he earned three assists. In 20 AHL games he has two goals and seven assists. He was awarded the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, as the Top U.S. Collegiate Player in 2010

Wow..what a day…its bitter sweet, going to miss my hometown of nashville, but going to where it all started with my family…MONTREAL!!! -@BlakeGeoffrion on Twitter

Slaney has split the season between the AHL and the ECHL. He has one assist in nine AHL games, and eight goals and five assists in 23 ECHL games.

Want to thank everyone in Nashville for everything, and excited for a new start in Montreal!  #newbeginnings -@rslaney67 on Twitter

What we lose:

A veteran defenceman with a wealth of playoff experience, strong penalty-killing ability and depth.

Moving Forward

As sad as I still am to see Big Hal depart for Nashville, I am excited for the future generation of Montreal Canadiens.

They may not be having the best season this year, but neither were the Ottawa Senators last year and look at them now.

“We are also very pleased to have acquired a second-round draft selection in 2012 and two young prospects for our organization. We look forward to working together with Blake Geoffrion and Robert Slaney to continue their progression.” -Canadiens GM, Pierre Gauthier

This time, I’d like to give PG a pat on the back for a good trade.

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Round Two Predictions

Round 2 Predictions:

Something I find interesting going into the second round of the playoffs is that in both the East and the West the teams still remaining were seeded first, second, third and fifth.  

Since none of the teams seeded sixth or lower made it through to the second round there weren’t really any upsets.  Surprises, yes (Chicago winning three straight and almost knocking out the league’s best team) but upsets, no.

Vancouver (1) vs. Nashville (5)

The Predators are coming off their first series win in the team’s 12 year history while the Canucks are barely standing after almost collapsing to the Chicago Blackhawks in round one after going up 3-0 in the series.

While I predicted Vancouver would get past the first round I said from the get go that they would not get past the second round.

In my opinion Luongo is not a solid playoff goaltender and that became apparent in games four, five and six against Chicago. While he cannot be the only one to blame (there are five players in front of him, including the Sedin twins who also played some unimpressive hockey those games) a team cannot be a Cup contender with a goalie who is shaky come post season.

I’m taking Nashville in six. 

San Jose (2) vs. Detroit (3)

San Jose is a team famous for choking in the playoffs. While I’d love to see the Sharks oust the Red Wings, I don’t think it will happen.

Detroit had a week of recovery after sweeping the Phoenix Coyotes in round one; while some say the extra time off could do more harm than good, it has allowed the Red Wings to get healthy.

The start of the series might see more momentum in favour of San Jose because of the long break Detroit had but as the series wears on the recovery period will work in favour of the Wings.

In terms of goaltending Antti Niemi obviously gives the Sharks a one up but Detroit has a lot of depth and veteran playoff experience.

I’m taking Detroit in five. 

Washington (1) vs. Tampa (5)

With Vincent Lecavalier healthy and scoring again the Lightning pose as a dangerous threat to any team they face with their power forwards.

Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis have racked up the points all season long and now Steve Downie has emerged as a post season scorer too.

The offensive depth along with Dwayne Roloson between the pipes will be too much for Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals to handle.

I’m taking Tampa in 6

Philadelphia (2) vs. Boston (3)

Both Boston and Philly have big teams who use brute strength and size to their advantage and both teams went to game 7 against lower seeded teams which means neither team got much rest after the first round of the post season.

This series will come down to which team can out muscle the other. Both teams will be tired from all the hard hitting in round one so the end result will ultimately come down to which team has more skill on top of strength.

I’m taking Philly in five