Monday, 27 February 2012

Andrei is hittin' the road to Nashville

There's a puzzling reaction to the Andrei Kostitsyn trade on this fine trade deadline day. There are some who are outraged about the meager returns, and posit that General Manager Pierre Gauthier didn't shop him effectively. I ask myself whether they really think that Pierre Gauthier took a lesser offer from the Predators than what was out there. The word was out about Andrei Kostitsyn, many analysts have stated before today that there was no interest at all for him. Darren Dreger quipped that the Canadiens held on to him for a season too long in terms of his trade value.

What did we expect to reap from a lazy, moody, streaky, underachieving winger who is free to walk at the end of the season? The points comparison with Paul Gaustad is inept. Mr. Gaustad is signed beyond this July, is effective in the defensive zone, and appears at times to give a damn.

By trading him to Nashville, we dealt with the best partner possible. They are gearing up for a playoff run, needed scoring and wanted to prove to Shea Weber and Ryan Suter that they are serious about winning. Andrei comes with low risk, they test-drive him for two months and decide if they want to re-sign him in July. His brother Sergei also made them a more likely environment for him to succeed. Finally, the coach and GM are experienced and secure, and could assume the risk of this experiment. The Preds were the team who were the most likely to be intrigued by his potential and thus give us the most in return.

As far as the fact that we are getting a 2013 second-rounder, some posters have stated that it is equivalent to a 2012 third-rounder, that that is the formula used in trades. This may be the fact during the draft when a team finds that one of the players it likes has 'fallen', and it is desperate to pick up an additional draft pick to scoop him, it has a gun to its head and usually swaps a higher pick in a later draft for an immediate one. These conditions don't exist in the middle of the season though. While a future pick isn't as valuable as a current one, since you have to go a whole year or more without an asset, any team would trade a later 2nd for a current 3rd any day.

This applies even more to our Canadiens, since next year's draft is thought to be deeper than this year's. Also, if you have too many picks in one year, as would have been the case if they had stockpiled another 2012 2nd rounder, it is harder for your organization to absorb all these youngsters, and some may fall through the cracks. The Canadiens, by getting Nashville's 2013 2nd-rounder, are also now in good shape if they feel they want to take a run at Nathan MacKinnon.

Instead of viewing Andrei as a #10 overall draft pick with size and a wicked shot, the rest of the league saw him as a fringe player who could barely help the last-place Eastern Conference team and hadn't scored a goal in a month. Let's understand the situation, accept it, agree that we got as much as was possible in these circumstances, and feel good about getting a second round pick for a player who was most likely to leave without compensation in July.

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