Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Halak-A-Mania Trade Rumours Running Wild, but Becoming a Reality.


Well two years of speculation and rumours, surrounding the future of Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak, may finally be coming to a conclusion.

Halak’s name has been mentioned in trade deals since 2007-08. To start that season, Carey Price took the role as the number two goalie in Montreal to Cristobel Huet. Despite an admirable performance the season prior, Halak found himself in goal for the Hamilton Bulldogs.

That changed once Huet was shipped off to the Washington Capitals. GM Bob Gainey decided to go with two young goalies and continued that through 2008-09.

Carey Price was always anointed as “The Franchise”, by many in the media and fans alike, since the day he was drafted in 2005. I can’t recall any Canadiens goalie that was given so much hype since maybe Jacques Plante. Roy didn’t get it, neither did Dryden.

Halak, in the meantime, remained quiet and avoided any goalie controversies. He let his actions on the ice speak that he deserved to be in the NHL, and possibly as a number one goalie.

With both netminders becoming restricted free agents come July, many feel something will have to give, but who?

Things began to develop as the 2009-10 season took form.

In late October, when Price rode the pine, in favour of Halak, for four games, he spoke in a positive manner and acknowledged his coach for playing the hot hand at the time.

Price soon after had another mediocre start which launched the “Tweet Heard ‘Round the World” by Halak’s agent Allan Walsh.

Halak quickly downplayed his agents comments, citing that he wasn’t speaking on his client’s behalf, and was made unaware of it until the next day.

The goalie controversy seemed to be back, spawning one the most detailed, comprehensive and equally impressive statistical analysis of the two goalies at HabsEyesOnThePrize.com


Price meanwhile, began to climb back and was quickly playing in games at the level he was expected to achieve and in multiple succession.

Halak has had three starts in the last twelve days and went 1-2-0

More trade rumours circulated in the last two weeks, notably out of Edmonton and Philadelphia.

Well those Philadelphia tidbits gained more steam on Tuesday once Bob Gainey confirmed that Halak had requested a trade.

“Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t,” Halak said after Tuesday’s practice. “That’s between me and my agent.”

He also said that despite being happy to be in Montreal, he would like to see more ice time.

“I’m always been a team guy,” he added. “If I play, I play, but I want to win. My contract is up after this year, but if they want to move me, it’s up to them.”

Gainey, who has been known to accommodate players trade requests in the past (for the most recent see: Begin, Steve) also made it clear that the Flyers were not the only team he talked to.

"I took this step because it is Jaroslav's wish to have his chance to play," Gainey told RueFrontenac.com. "He feels ready to play a more important part."

The Philadelphia Daily News also confirmed the story, but talks with Philadelphia could be off now, as the goalie-strapped team picked up Michael Leighton off waivers late Tuesday.


The NHL’s roster freeze kicks in on December 19, and remains in effect until the 27th, so any trade deal seems unlikely in the coming three days.

In any event, one has to think that with the Canadiens compressed schedule, leading up to the Olympics, that moving Halak right now may not be beneficial.

An injury to Price could spell disaster, to an already injury laden team. Keeping Halak until then might be a wiser move.

At least now he knows that he is being accommodated and will be wanting to perform at a top level, as scouts watch more feverishly as the trade deadline approaches.

In any event, one thing is most definitely certain now. Jaroslav Halak will not be a member of the Montreal Canadiens in 2010-11.


Chris said...

Looks like he's really being shopped!: http://www.mauvaisoeil.com/2009/12/bob-gainey-met-halak-sur-lespac-com.html

Yves said...

Although I like both our goaltenders very much... and both have shown they can play very well I'm certainly not against moving Halak.

The team does have certain needs... another top 6 forward certainly wouldn't hurt although I'm not sure that Halak's value would be high enough to command such a acquisition.

I think Gainey tried to make a winner out of what he had with the "old core" of the previous team.... the team now has a new look, new feel... and I would certainly doubt that he's done with the changes.

I know Halak will be a restricted free agent still... but I hate thinking of loosing guys for nothing.

Hope he's able to pull off a good move.

I think Halak deserves a shot somewhere too.