May 29, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges (26), goalie Dustin Tokarski (35), left wing Rene Bourque (17) before the game against the New York Rangers in game six of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Canadiens Trade Josh Gorges to Buffalo; Chance for Tom Gilbert

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.

Gorges keeps crease clear

May 27, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (not pictured) scores a goal against Montreal Canadiens goalie Dustin Tokarski (35) and defenseman Josh Gorges (26) during the second period in the game five of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

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.

“I’ve grown to hate this team. To play against them, how could I really go and put my heart and soul into it?” – Josh Gorges

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.

Gilbert carries puck

Jan 21, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Florida Panthers defenseman Tom Gilbert (77) during the second period against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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Tags: Josh Gorges Montreal Canadiens Tom Gilbert

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