Sep 26, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges (26) is checked into the boards by Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone (behind) during the second period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Gorges Trade Continues to Lurk in the Shadows

Marc Bergevin and the Montreal Canadiens are giving off signs that they’re going to be busy tomorrow on more fronts than expected.

The acquisition of a scoring winger has been in the Canadiens’ water supply ever since summer kicked around. But today with the trade of Daniel Briere for P.A. Parenteau, and the impending departure of Josh Gorges, fewer and fewer players appear to be safe. The Canadiens qualified Subban and Eller today, but not Ryan White, meaning he becomes a UFA tomorrow and will have to find a new home.

“I want people to know that I never wanted to leave Montreal. I have never asked for a trade — this is Marc Bergevin’s call. I am in shock. This really hard to accept. I have always given my heart to this team.” - Josh Gorges

I’m sure we were almost as surprised as Josh Gorges was to hear that his name is being shopped around by Marc Bergevin. Heading into the summer, Gorges was the last person on people’s minds up for trade.

Going forward, it is no secret that the Canadiens have a plethora of young players coming in to support the blueline. The emergence of first-rounders Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu are imminent, while prospects like Dalton Thrower and Greg Pateryn are only going to increase the level of competition at Habs training camp later this summer.

The NHL salary cap was expected to rise to around $71M this year, but was halted at $69M, placing a hurdle in front of many teams. Now the Canadiens have to weigh their options and determine the best course of action while being dollar-conscious .

Now that there is definitive proof that Marc Bergevin is trying to move Josh Gorges, people are left guessing. Many people believe that if Gorges is in fact dealt (and it would have to be quickly as NHL Free Agency only is hours away) then the Canadiens will make a major pitch at a UFA defenseman, whether it be Matt Niskanen, Anton Stralman, or Dan Boyle. But the Canadiens management has a ton of work to do with the resignings of RFAs P.K. Subban and Lars Eller. Montreal now has $17.5M of remaining cap space, per Capgeek, so they have to be cautious.

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

I believe that if Josh Gorges is traded, however, that no big defenseman signing will follow for the Canadiens. I think Gorges being shopped around by Montreal means they are looking to do two things: save cap space down the road; and make way for their young, budding defensemen to step into full-time roles. P.K. Subban’s looming contract which could make him one of the highest paid defenseman in the NHL, Markov being locked up for 3 years at $5.75M/season and Emelin’s four remaining years at $4.1M/season, means it would not be easy for Bergevin to throw free agent-like money around.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

I personally don’t want to see Gorges go. I think he is a cornerstone of this Montreal team. He is a potential future captain, and a heart and soul guy, who when paired with P.K. Subban, could round out an elite shutdown pair.

I was shocked as anyone to hear the news. But perhaps it is too late — perhaps Bergevin has soured things and Gorges will decide he doesn’t want to play for someone who doesn’t want him. He refused to waive his limited NTC. He has a list of 15 teams he can be dealt to. Toronto is not one of them, but Marc Bergevin and Brendan Shanahan (Toronto’s GM) have already tried to get him to amend that list so a deal between the two teams can be made.

That deal is unlikely, so perhaps a deal with another club that is on Gorges’ list is in the works.

Getting rid of Josh Gorges would be a huge mistake in my opinion. Or should I say, “was” a huge mistake. It seems there is no way he stays in Montreal now. It’s too bad because he is revered in Montreal. He is the epitome of everything this new group of coaches and management are preaching.

More to follow. Stay tuned. Oh boy, are things ahead.

What do you think about the Gorges fiasco?


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