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Habs Acquire Mara

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In what might be a sign of the severity of Jaroslav Spacek's injury, the Montreal Canadiens have traded a 5th round pick for Paul Mara of the Anaheim Ducks. Mara was a UFA signing of the Ducks this offseason after the Canadiens let him go after an injury ravaged campaign. The pick Montreal traded was actually Anaheim's 5th round pick that Montreal had acquired with Brett Festerling in exchange for Maxim Lapierre. This essentially makes that trade Mara and Festerling for Lapierre.

Mara has managed only 1 goal and 1 assist this season for the Ducks in 33 games, posting a -1 goal differential and 40 PIM. Last year with the Habs he managed 8 assists in 42 games while posting a dismal -16 rating and 48 PIM. Mara has averaged 20:10 TOI per game this season, which is good for fourth among Ducks defensemen. Mara makes $750,000 this year, $213,710 of which will count against the Canadiens' salary cap. He's a UFA at the end of the season.

It's clear that Jacques Martin wasn't too happy with being forced to start 3 rookies in the game against the Buffalo Sabres last night, although Brendan Nash looked solid in his limited ice time. It's possible that Alexandre Picard's play on the penalty kill was another reason for the trade.

Mara adds toughness and size on the blueline, and although he has brought some offense in the past it seems unlikely that he'll be able to contribute in that area now as his game has declined in recent years.

Overall a 5th round pick isn't much to give up for a depth defenseman, and this is likely the kind of move we can expect from Pierre Gauthier in the run up to the trade deadline, as anything risking future assets for this year is unlikely.