Gauthier managed to find the other 5'9" 14 goal man in the league to complete his set. In addition to Nigel Dawes, he added Stanley Cup champion Brent Sopel to the backline.
The days of playing 8 D can't be far away.
What does this confirm?
Are Habs buyers?
Not sure if this confirms that or not. Dawes is a depth forward and Sopel is a depth defenceman.
Are Atlanta selling up?
Don't think this is evidence of that. Dawes is a first liner from the Chicago Wolves, but probably doesn't figure in Atlanta's plans. Sopel never seems to be in anyone's plans. If this was Ladd, then Atlanta would have sent a signal.
Is Spacek injured badly?
I think this confirms that. I can't see Gauthier spending anything to get Sopel otherwise.
Are the Habs going for it?
I think this move signals Gauthier would hate to miss the playoffs. But you know what? Without Markov, Spacek and Gorges, I'm not sure there's anything that Mara and Sopel could do about this season.
Is this signalling another trade?
People will see too many D and think someone here is on the outs. Weber is the most likely poster boy. Sopel, Mara, Picard don't make me think Weber sits, personally, but it is a possibility. Weber is probably the most valuable "tradeable" player in the lineup. I don't want him traded though.
Who wins this trade?
Maxwell had potential. Or so we heard. Third season in the AHL has not been his best. Sure there's been upheaval and changing linemates, but the onus was on Maxwell to show something by this point. The Canadiens can't hang around forever for every prospect. I think he was expendable.
The 4th round pick is a fourth round pick. Sure, there are sometimes players to be had in the 4th round or later. But on average there are not. The onus is on the Habs scouts to pick the right players with fewer picks, but not having the 4th shouldn't hurt them too much.
Dawes. 3 full NHL seasons, 3 10+ goal seasons. Not sure why he hasn't been in Atlanta, but this wouldn't be the first questionable move made in Atlanta (as they slide way out of the playoffs again). Dawes may well be the player that Gauthier wanted with Dustin Boyd. 27 goals in the AHL so far shows he can still shoot a little bit.
Sopel is the dark horse from Atlanta. Everyone hears about Byfuglien and Enstrom. He's Atlanta's 7th D in terms of TOI/G, but he's played in 59 of 61 and put up the second best +/- on the team. One of very few in the positive side of the ledger. Sopel used to be an offensive defenceman, but that was ages ago now. I think he's adapted to the lesser role and has started to make a twilight calling for himself as a solid last piece on D.
I think the Habs won this trade, but I also think this trade might be it. If that's the case, the Habs have not been a winner of this trade deadline. Chicago struck a good early deal and even Toronto has cashed in well. Pittsburgh paid nothing (on conditions) for Kovalev and other players have left Ottawa for vrtually nothing.
Montreal sures up their playoff run, but do little to change their ultimate springtime fate with this move.
Let's see where this takes us...