As the dust settles on the Montreal Canadiens’ latest move—the Habs traded AHLer Cederick Desjardins to Tampa Bay for Karri Ramo—there has been no consensus, among pundits, as to the merits of this trade. Whereas people tend to either love or hate any move that Habs GM Pierre Gauthier makes, this trade, for some reason, seems to have people split right down the middle.
If you were to read Arpon Basu’s article about the trade, you’d read that this is a bad deal for the Canadiens because it reduces their goaltending depth. In addition, it leaves the Canadiens vulnerable if, heaven forbid, Carey Price goes down to injury this season, as Desjardins—in Arpon’s column—was more fit to play at the NHL level than Curtis Sanford.
My colleague at Hockeybuzz.com, Eric Engels, offers a similar take to Mr. Basu going so far as to call Desjardins a top prospect. Engels also feels that the Canadiens goaltending depth took a hit with this trade, and that it did little to benefit the Habs.
Moving off of the board a little, there is a strong counter-point by Rick from All Habs, who in short, states that at 25-years of age, Desjardins still hasn’t learned how to handle the puck properly, and has struggled with inconsistencies. Rick also goes so far as to point out that Desjardins career-year last year had a lot to do with playing in an excellent system, under Guy Boucher.
So, what is the truth of the matter? I view it as a little from column A and a little from column B. I mostly feel that this is very neutral trade. Desjardins for Ramo? Who cares?
Desjardins, while coming off of a great season in Hamilton, has struggled with inconsistent play between the pipes. Habs fans have to remember that the team acquired Desjardins as an unsigned free agent, in 2006, to provide goaltending depth. While he did a decent job in that area, I don’t feel that Desjardins is a player who could push Price in any legitimate sense.
Given that Ramo will not even play in North America this year, there is no question that sending Desjardins to Tampa leaves the Habs weaker in nets. However, if Price does suffer an injury this season, then Sanford will be the perfect player to put in some mileage with the Habs. Sanford’s 108 NHL games played, career 2.76 GAA and his .901 SV% make him an acceptable NHL-level backup and I would rather roll the dice with him than Desjardins.
The other important note here is that given that the Canadiens recently ended their affiliation with the ECHL Cincinnati Cyclones, they needed to find a place for goaltender Robert Mayer to play. This trade should allow Mayer to compete for quality playing time in Hamilton.
Who knows what went on behind the scenes with new Tampa GM, Steve Yzerman, again going fishing in the Habs pond? I am sure that Tampa’s head coach, Guy Boucher, had something to do with recommending Desjardins to his GM. Still, Yzerman himself stated in his press conference that he felt this was a depth move for their organization.
Looking at the recent prospect rankings by Hockey’s Future, we see that they rank Desjardins as the No.17 prospect overall for the Habs. I wouldn’t, personally, call that a top prospect. Moreover, if we go by the Hockey’s Future rankings, Ramo gets a 7.0C grade while Desjardins gets a 6.5C grade. Looking at those analyses, this deal looks like a wash.
At the end of the day, there is so little Habs news to talk about that people went a little nutty with this trade. Like a starving lion, dying to eat a piece of meat, Habs nation tore this minor news story to shreds, fueled by the famine that is the dog days of summer. While there are pros and cons to this move, it is, ultimately, a very neutral trade that means very little for either side.
The upcoming season can’t come soon enough, because these dog days of summer are starting to devour us all!