Okay, now we're cooking with gas. Another second-rounder to add to the pile, trying to undo the damage of assets frittered away. Hmmmm, fritters...
This is a 'due diligence' trade from the Canadiens, as in, in this situation, a lost season and a 35-year-old UFA-to-be on your hands in a market depleted of centres at the trade deadline, it was a no-brainer. Any GM who didn't make this trade would have been charged with dereliction of duty, like Jim Benning sitting on Dan Hamhuis and Radim Vrbata two seasons ago.
Glad that the Insiders who kept repeating that Tomas' value was low, that the Canadiens would reap a fourth, maybe a third-round pick for him, were proven incorrect. In your face, Dreger!
I would have preferred receiving another pick, a third or a fourth next year, something like that, instead of Kerby Rychel and Rinat Valiev as sweeteners, but that's just me, I'd always go for picks. I'd trade your mothers for picks if I could. Miserly Lou wasn't going to toss those around like candy, that sour cuss. So he unloaded a couple of gently-used beaters on us instead.
Rinat Valiev is one of those guys who was hyped as a potential high-second-rounder his year in the draft, but who 'fell' to the third. Then again, every year there are thirty or fourty of those guys, guys we're told could sneak in the bottom of the first round or top of the second round, according to the wonks, so they can't all be right. It's just basic math.
Kerby Rychel is a little different story. While he's roughly the same type of prospect as Rinat Valiev at this point, a stalled talent who now must go through waivers to be sent down to the AHL, he comes with a first-round pedigree, name recognition, and a history of being one of those guys that the Canadiens/Marc Bergevin/Trevor Timmins 'liked' his draft year. The Columbus Blue Jackets drafted him at #19, while the Canadiens cooled their heels at #25, eventually ending up with Mike McCarron.
I posted on this at the time, how a video from the Jackets' website followed their draft process, how it showed GM Jarmo Kekalainen answering a phone call minutes before it was their turn, from Marc Bergevin trying to move up in the first round. Mr. Kekalainen declined, but the scuttlebutt was that the Canadiens were after either Kerby Rychel or Anthony Mantha, depending on whose crystal ball you trust.
In any case, Kerby Rychel is a kind of player who we don't have enough of, a big rough-and-tumble winger who can still pot goals and produce offensively, kind of like a Nicolas Deslauriers with a higher upside? The Laval Rocket is in dire straits right now, and they'll benefit from his addition to the roster, this season and beyond.
The Canadiens promised that the Laval Rocket would provide good, exciting hockey for its fans, and that the years of missing the playoffs for the farm team were over, that the kids had to develop in a competitive environment. Mission objectives were not met this season. I have to believe that Sylvain Lefebvre's goose is finally well and truly cooked, that results have to mean something by now. And looking ahead to next season, Mike McCarron and Nikita Scherbak will be with le Grand Club, so Marc Bergevin has to think about getting some talent on the Rocket, getting the fans excited and some wins on the board.
So generally, the Canadiens organization is short of talent, short of prospects, short of young players who can step in for a few games and contribute. Both these young players will add organizational strength, and I can see how this trade helps both teams. We're talent-starved and prospect-deficient to the point of rickets, so these two kids shore up the system. Meanwhile, the Leafs have had a good look at these two, don't see them being key contributors in the short or medium term, and they know they can't keep them all, what with waivers and the 50-contract limit and the looming expansion draft. Good trade for both sides.
Farewell Tomas, you were a dedicated soldier who represent us well. Good luck the rest of the season and beyond.