Former Montreal Canadien Josh Gorges is now a Buffalo Sabre. Montreal traded the defenseman to Buffalo for a second-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.
Initially Montreal was shopping him to the Toronto Maple Leafs, for which Gorges refused to waive his no-trade clause, but apparently felt differently when it came to Buffalo.
When asked why he nixed a trade to Toronto, Gorges said, “I’ve grown to hate this team. To play against them, how could I really go and put my heart and soul into it?”
Gorges played his heart out for the Canadiens over the past 5 and a half seasons. Over the 2013-2014 regular season he averaged just over 21 minutes in ice time during each of the 66 games he played for Montreal, raising that to about 24 minutes per game in the postseason.
While not known for his goal scoring (Gorges scored 13 goals over 464 games played with the Canadiens), preferring to quickly and efficiently move pucks out of the defensive zone, Gorges was a positive contributor for Montreal.
His cost, though, proved to be too high for the Canadiens. With four years left on a six-year, $24.3 million deal, Bergevin began actively shopping the defensive player. When taken in the context of re-signing Subban to a higher deal and Galchenyuk and Gallagher becoming eligible for significant raises at the end of next season, ultimately his contributions were not as significant as he might have liked.
With Gorges gone, Subban’s newest defensive partner spot may go to newly-minted Canadien, Tom Gilbert. His style is more aggressive than Gorges’, whose specialty was to take care of the crease while letting Subban roam farther up the ice.
It is also noteworthy that, once again, Montreal is trading out small, skilled players for those of greater size. Gilbert has approximately four inches on Gorges, and while not considerably of greater weight, his longer reach will allow him to keep other teams at bay with perhaps greater ease.
While Gorges’ confidence and leadership in the room and off the ice will be missed, it’s fascinating to watch Bergevin’s vision for the 2014-15 Canadiens come together.