Why I’ve Decided Not To Be GM

There’s a reason why general managers make big bucks and have meetings in nice, warm places with palm trees. Because they have to make massive decisions that could turn out to be either brilliant or extremely lousy.

Montreal will have seven restricted free agents to deal with this summer, which means these players’ contracts are up and other teams can offer them wheelbarrows of money, but the players aren’t going anywhere if Montreal matches or ups the offer. Unlike unrestricted free agents who are simply free to go to anyone who wants them.

The seven restricted free agents Pierre Gauthier must consider are Mathieu Carle, Sergei Kostitsyn, Maxim Lapierre, Gregory Stewart, Tom Pyatt, and lo and behold, both goalies, Jaroslav Halak and Carey Price.

Forget about the other five; It’s the two goalies that’ll get blogs and radio talk shows and TV panels going long after the matter is settled.

Halak earns $800,000 and Price $850,000, and these salaries are about to double at the very least, very soon. And Halak is just slightly more than a year older than Price, so age isn’t a factor.

What will Gauthier do?

Halak, of course, was the second-coming in the post-season and Carey Price spent most of his time cheering his mate on from the bench.

This is what we know. What we don’t know is – Will Carey Price, at some point reasonably soon, become the all-star goaltender most, until recently, believed he would become? And will Jaroslav Halak continue his great play on a regular basis, proving to everyone that the playoffs weren’t just some kind of miraculous fluke?

No one knows. That’s the problem.

Gauthier has hinted that he may possibly keep both, which seems, when first thought about, the natural way of doing things. After all, imagine dealing Price and he blossoms into the next superstar and enjoys a Hall of Fame career all the while thumbing his nose at his former team, the Canadiens?

This is possible.

But imagine keeping Jaroslav Halak and he free-falls into just an ordinary mortal, and we sit back and wish we had Price.

Or this; Gauthier deals Price for a big, top-six forward who is a key piece of the puzzle and the Habs become much stronger.

Or how about, deal Halak, keep Price, and Price continues to be extremely shaky and Montreal ends up with lousy goaltending and doesn’t go anywhere for the next ten years.

I have my personal thoughts, and I know many out there, when they hear it, will tell me my mother, if she were alive, wears army boots. Or toss several colourful phrases at me, many of which begin with “F”.

Let Price go. I have only tiny faith in him at all at this time. Whenever it was announced he’d play during the year, I was nervous, like many, I’m sure. Rarely was he a rock between the pipes. He seems slow moving from one side to the other. He allows goals that superstar goalies don’t allow. Some nights he looked like he couldn’t make an AHL team, other nights he gave us beautiful hope.

He’s got a good glove hand, can handle the puck with the best of them, he’s big, and he’s young. But he’s had some absolutely horrendous games.

I also think, and I’m not the first to bring this up, that Montreal may have damaged the young guy somewhat. Take a guy off a small BC community, stuff his pockets with money, and tell him to take an apartment in downtown Montreal with the sights, sounds, women, and booze oozing from all corners, and expect him to behave like a mature human being. If the same was done to me, I’d probably be in jail right now, although I might have a bit of a smile on my face.

I know my wife likes him, and probably a million young women, They think he’s cute.

But cute doesn’t stop Mike Richards or Sid or Alex.

The Canadiens shouild have done what Pittsburgh did with Sidney Crosby – have Mario Lemieux and his wife take care of him, or Guy Lafleur, who lived at Jean Beliveau’s place when he first showed up in Montreal.

I’m glad I’m not general manager, and when I own the team, I’ll stick to what I feel I’m best at – stick boy and making sure the players’ wives are comfortable.

10 thoughts on “Why I’ve Decided Not To Be GM”

  1. I agree 100% that management made a huge mistake in how they handled Price. I do fear that if we let him go he will become that stud goaler that haunts us forever. I find that I really want it to be Price maybe even if just because he’s Canadian. I know it’s not logical but I would prefer that the team had more Canadian content. I have read that Scotty Bowman has said the team should keep Price and how can you argue with his opinion? I don’t know how hard it would be to keep both goalers but given their young ages and given how goalers usually need more time to develop I think it would be a mistake to trade one of them at this time. But as of today PM hasn’t called me to ask my opinion.

  2. DJ – The only thing good about letting one go would be if we got someone really good in return. Otherwise, I’d keep both. And I agree – how can you argue with Scotty? I also don’t mind your Canadian angle too.

  3. More and more I am starting to believe that it is the end of Price’s career in Montreal, but I really hope it isn’t. Obviously there is no harm in keeping him in Montreal, but with 29 other teams in the league, one team is bound to place a big deal in front of him and the habs would have to pull a Vanek to keep him.

  4. Except Gillis wouldn’t the compensation owed to Mtl be that much more because Price is a first rounder? Halak on the other hand being a much later round pick wouldn’t require nearly as much compensation. At least I think that’s how it works and what team would gamble so much on Price when there is still so much doubt as to his future?

  5. I’m not sure what all the little contract rules are. All I know (at least I think I know, tell me if I’m wrong) is that basically, Montreal needs to match offers made by other teams if they want to keep Price. The only way another team is going to get Price is buy offering him a contract that some may call ridiculously big. It certainly is a huge gamble to sign Price to a big contract, but just like Kovalev was for the Sens, and just like Gomez was for the Rangers… one of the 29 other teams is bound to risk it for a shot at what some believe will become a great franchise goaltender.

  6. Okay so I googled some RFA info so I could think straight. I got the general idea right. The smallest contract the habs can offer Price is 105% of his previous contract, and if they do not, he becomes a UFA. Offer sheets will be sent to Price and if he accepts one, the Habs can match it word for word BUT, if they do, he can not be traded for a year. If the habs decline, they receive draft picks from the other team in return, the round of the draft pick is determined by the value of the contract signed.

  7. There’s enough numbers out there to make Einstein’s head spin:

    Montreal’s total salary picture – from the Globe’s NHL Salary DB:

    http://static.fantasysports.ca/NHLSalaryData/globe/team-Mtl-salary.html

    Same site, but just goalies (you can see our guys are in for a raise):

    http://static.fantasysports.ca/NHLSalaryData/globe/top100avg-G-salary.html

    Refine searches to find player salary info. by name, team position etc.

    http://static.fantasysports.ca/NHLSalaryData/globe/index.html

    This one is nice and simple. It’s called the Hockey GM:

    http://www.thehockeygm.com/

    These ones are good too:

    http://nhlnumbers.com/

    http://www.nhlscap.com/

    To be a GM nowadays you have to always keep fresh batteries in your calculator.

    Make sure they’re Duracells. And make sure your calculator has room for lots and lots of zeros.

  8. The restricted free agent can be pretty simple. Pretty much anyone can offer Price a deal, and the more money they offer, the better the draft pick(s) we get if we don’t match. This is the scale, according to http://www.nhlscap.com/offer_sheets.htm

    Amount: Compensation Due
    $863,156 or less: None
    $863,156 – $1,307,812: 3rd round pick
    $1,307,812 – $2,615,625: 2nd round pick
    $2,615,623 – $3,923,437: 1st and 3rd round pick
    $3,923,437 – $5,231,249: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick
    $5,231,249 – $6,539,062: Two 1st’s, one 2nd, one 3rd round pick
    $6,539,062 or more: Four 1st round picks

    As for Price, his numbers this past season was actually better than the previous season. And he had a lot of trouble getting goal scoring help. In 25 games this year he started this year, the team scored 2 goals or less (for a whopping 64% of his games). You’re not going to win a lot of games that way.

    In comparision, when Halak was in nets, the team scored less than two goals only 17 times (for just under 40% of the time). It helps that during the regular season, Halak played the majority of his games against poorer teams. For example, last October he went on a four-game winning streak, defeating the Rangers, Thrashers and the Islanders twice. He won six of seven in December/January, beating the Islanders, Thrashers, Hurricanes, Leafs and the Panthers twice, but losing to the Sens. And in March, he went on a six game winning streak, winning against the Kings, Ducks, Lightning, Oilers, Bruins and Rangers.

    Notice any patterns? During those streaks, he played against some of the worst teams in the league. Add up those streaks, and he won 16 games. And of those 16 wins, only two were against playoff teams.

    When it came to playing the tough teams (regular season), the Canadiens leaned on Price. Price played all four games against the Capitals, played three of four games against the Penguins, and played the team’s lone games against Detroit, Chicago and San Jose. So of course he was going to have worse numbers.

    But all that said, I agree Price needs a change. He needs to go somewhere where the fans will appreciate him and he can mature at his own pace.

  9. Does anyone know if a qualifying offer for Price requires an increase only over his base salary or does it include his $1.35M bonus salary?

    Halak has great reflexes and was fantastic against Washington and Pittsburgh. However I’m worried that we’ve seen his best and teams will learn to exploit his weaknesses. He gives up rebounds and relies on the defence to clear the puck. He gets flustered when the opposition gets too close. His puck handling skills need a lot of work. He tends to out-think himself on breakaways and can be be quick to go down.

    Despite how badly he was handled, Price is still young and improving. Next year’s equipment rules will give him a big advantage. Unfortunately the pressure is what’s affecting him and that won’t go away in Montreal. But I’d still like to give him some time to mature and deal with it.

    In the end I think a good team defence will make any goalie look good. Halak was outplayed by Michael Leighton, a career minor leaguer. So the big question is what can we get for either Halak or Price to make a trade worthwhile?

  10. And Chris, Phiily exploited Halak with high shots. You’re line, “In the end I think a good team defence will make any goalie look good. Halak was outplayed by Michael Leighton, a career minor leaguer,” is so true.

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