You might be surprised or have forgotten, especially with all the media frenzy garnered after the PK Subban for Shea Weber trade, but the Habs did make two significant trades to change the outlook of their team at the NHL Draft back in late June. For all the talk about Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Draft Night 2016, it was the Canadiens that stole the thunder right of the bat, first trading Lars Eller to the Washington Capitals and then obtaining the rights of Andrew Shaw, a restricted free agent from the Chicago Blackhawks. I must admit, my first expression after hearing that the Habs had acquired Andrew Shaw was “overpriced for a good player on a great team.” Especially considering that he was a restricted free agent and rumoured to be asking for 4.5 million a year. However, the more I think about it, the more I let the trade settle in, I’m beginning to warm up to the trade and the idea of having Shaw on the Habs.
Projecting Next Year’s Lineup: Part 1 – Forwards Projecting Next Year’s Lineup: Part 2 – Defense & Price
I was overjoyed when it was announced that Eller had fetched two future 2nd round draft picks. I always thought Eller was a solid player, but definitely overhyped by the fans here in Montreal. It was perhaps his size compared to the Habs’ other 2 centres (Plekanec and Desharnais) that made him a favourite among the faithful. The former 13th overall pick by the St. Louis Blues in 2007 never really emerged to anything more than a depth player, nothing that the Canadiens could consistently depend on. For his 6 years with the Habs, Eller never scored more than 30 points and have had multiple lengthy goalless slumps. Add to the fact that Eller has a cap hit of 3.5 million, obtaining two 2nd rounds was considered a steal.
My excitement and re-belief in Marc Bergevin however, immediately vanished. As I mentioned earlier, when Gary Bettman announced that the Habs were also involved in another trade, this time trading two 2nd round picks for the gritty and pesty Andrew Shaw. I asked myself right off the bat, Why? There’s no doubt Shaw is a good player, a gritty, in your face player, the likes of Brendan Gallagher. But for a team that lacked goal scoring and offence for the past 3 years, I would hardly call Andrew Shaw a saviour to our offensive woes. But the more time that passes, and the more I let this trade acclimate, I’m beginning to feel better with it. Shaw brings leadership to a team that last year lacked it, slumping through to a miserable finish after starting the season 9-0. Actually, slumping might be a nice way of saying it, it was a total collapse, a cluster**** of mishaps. Sure Shaw’s 3.9 million contract that he signed 3 days after the trade is higher than what Gallagher currently earns, but Shaw does have 2 Stanley Cups attached to his name. Lets not underestimate Shaw here, he does have some offensive abilities, with seasons of 20 goals, 15 goals and 14 goals. While he shouldn’t be asked to be the saviour of the offence (that title might be better suited for the Habs’ prized FA signing Alex Radulov), with Shaw, you know as fans, we will get a player that will play his heart out every shift, similar to Gallagher. And with that, I’m okay with the trade. If you ask any Habs fan today, would they trade Gallagher for two 2nd rounders? The unanimous answer would be no, heck no! So the fact that the Habs gave up two 2nd round picks for Shaw, I feel that it was a reasonable price to pay.
How will the departure of Lars Eller and addition of Andrew Shaw effect the Habs next season? Only time will tell. But draft picks aside, one of one, I take Shaw over Eller on my team any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
How do you feel about the trades?