Going....Going...Gomez! The Domino Effect Of A Bad Deal!


Angered, utter disbelief, total incomprehension, absolutely mystified.

Choose your emotional state of being, upon hearing the announcement of the Montreal Canadiens acquisition of New York Rangers center Scott Gomez.

I don't know what you were doing when you heard, but my grass is half cut. A phone call delivering the news took me away, and I haven't returned to my backyard.

Over a lawnmover engine, I heard the word "Gomez", shouted to me from my teenage daughter. My thoughts were Addams Family, and her's were Selena Gomez.

In the whole deal, I'd take the teenage chick, if I were a free agent

Trades always catch folks by surprise, and although many of us might have felt a deal was imminent on this day, it's a fair guess to suggest we were all caught off guard with this one.

The emotions listed above are mine - they may be yours - but six hours later I'm still trying to come to grips with it and make it all fit into a neat little place called common sense.

And I'm failing miserably at it.

Here's the thing - I like Scott Gomez as a player, but it's a given that his salary bites it. In the next five seasons, Gomez will be paid 8M, 8M, 7.5M, 5.5M and 4.5M for annual cap hit of approximately 6.7M.

Yikes, ouch, and kick me in the gonads to relieve the pain - that is one retardedly hefty contract that will delay the development and progress of the team, as I see it. It shackles the club concerning further moves, one day prior to the free agent open season on July 1.

Not only is the timing baffling, but the desperation involved is so un - Gainey - like. Consider that just last Friday, the Canadiens GM was preaching patience to the fanbase and media, suggesting that a deal for a top line centerman may not come into play until late in the off - season.

So why, pray tell, did he seem to cave, on the eve of July 1. Could this deal not have waited a week?

Again, I like Gomez the player, but with his annual renumeration, it's not as though there were a logjam of teams lined up to acquire him.

My two biggest questions in all of this are about timing and the inclusion of defenseman prospect Ryan McDonagh.

For two seasons now, we've been sold that McDonagh is a blue chipper. We've also gotten to watch Christopher Higgins over four seasons, and at certain times have alluded to him as captain material. Higgins was a Canadiens assistant captain for a season and a half, before being unceremonously stripped of the "A" this past season, without much explanation.

In Higgins' case, there is little doubt that Gainey knows more than the common fan about the players under his watch. It has long been rumoured, and as often unsubstantiated, that Higgins may have been a poor influence on goalie Carey Price's lifestyle. Higgins has been rumoured to be be part of two prospective trades (Hossa, Sundin) before this one. Nevertheless, in the internet age, you can easily find photos that appear to look like NHL player's misconduct, but the perspective is never underlined. Players party in the summertime. Such speculation ought to end right there. In any case, gossip is inconsequential to this deal. It was hardly about Higgins.

So it begs, why were the Canadiens so rabid in landing Gomez?

Yes, Gomez is a center capable of distributing la rondelle between his wingers - it hardly makes him unique, especially at his cost.

Over the past five seasons, Gomez has racked up 194 assists with the New Jersey Devils and the Rangers. In that same time span, Saku Koivu has assisted on 172 goals with the Canadiens.

Over four seasons Gomez has scored a whopping 7 goals more than Saku Koivu. That's almost 2 goals per season more than Saku.

Don't purchase a calculator!

The quick math, is an additional 7 goals and 22 assists at a cost of 2M more per season for a player who is four years younger and on the books for five more seasons,

In a PPG ratio, Gomez is slighty superior, with 272 points in 312 games, compared to Koivu's 243 in 295 games.

Factoring in that Koivu is the second longest tenured Habs captain, despite being four years older, and I truly fail to see where Gomez is an upgrade.

The two Stanley Cups on Gomez's resume look damn pretty, but give the Canadiens lineup Scott Stevens, Scott Neidermayer, and Martin Brodeur, among others, for a decade, and tell me then that it wouldn't have impacted Koivu's career line and the overall team's standing.

Certain players have, historically, made certain others, look much better. This notion, ain't no lesson for a hardened fan.

But all that, it could be negatively argued, is part of the past.

Okay, so how does this trade compromise the Canadiens future?

Well for starters, in Higgins, the Canadiens have given up a player who has outscored Gomez, and tossed in what the Canadiens organization itself bandied was their best draft coup in McDonagh, a player often described as potentially the best rearguard prospect in the pipeline.

I used the term "domino effect" in this article's title, so here's a rundown of consequeneces, as I see them.

The Canadiens are minus $7M on July 1 - which nullifies options going forward. Gomez is hardly anyone's description of a number one center, so the Canadiens are still looking for one, with less to spend.

As Gomez becomes the highest paid Canadien ever, how does the club / Gainey keep a straight face telling Koivu, Kovalev, Komisarek and Tanguay, that their demands cannot be met.

Players have egos, and their agents will use every angle in negotiations.

The domino effect hurts here, as those four player's prices just went up.

With Gomez trade, Gainey stopped playing a card game.

He's now playing roulette.

I will state it again. Gainey had better yank some rabbits from his hat - as I'm teetering being in his court.

The judge and jury will sit come October 2009.

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