Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Good Luck, D'Ags

Well, it seems Pierre Gauthier stays up later than Bob Gainey on school nights. Sometime around midnight last night, the Habs told Matt D'Agostini he's now a St.Louis Blue. The Canadiens get Aaron Palushaj (pronounced Pah-loosh-aye for those who're wondering) in exchange. Hindsight may say the Habs lost this one if D'Agostini ever turns out to be a 25-goal scorer in St.Louis, but I don't see that happening.

Gauthier has made exactly the kind of trade he should be making right now. D'Agostini wasn't doing anything in Montreal, despite being given numerous chances on the top lines. He was taking bad penalties and he wasn't effective on the bottom lines. With the top six healthy, he had no chance of playing with better linemates either. Still, he's come pretty far for a guy drafted in the sixth round.

Palushaj, on the other hand, was a second-rounder. He's six feet tall, but skinny, and the book on him says he's got good speed, a very nice shot, a strong worth ethic and some offensive smarts. His defensive awareness is considered average, though. On my part, I remember him playing for Team USA in the World Juniors a couple of yeras ago and being impressed with his skill.

In terms of how he'll fit in with the Habs, he's a skilled right-handed shot, and he's a project. He's only twenty years old so he'll be sent to Hamilton to be shaped by Guy Boucher. His first year of pro hockey, with the Blues' farm team in Peoria, has been pretty average. He's got only 22 points in 44 games, but those who know him say it's more a confidence issue than one of ability. In college, he put up solid numbers, 94 points in 82 games over two seasons at the University of Michigan. He shared his rookie season at Michigan with Max Pacioretty (and outscored him), so those two have a history I'm sure the Habs are hoping to revive in Hamilton.

Right now, I like this trade. Gauthier has managed to convert an underachieving 24-year-old sixth rounder most people would have let go on waivers, into a talented 20-year-old second rounder with the potential to develop well under Boucher's tutelage. I wish D'Agostini well, but I'm glad to see the Canadiens get a potential building block in exchange for a guy who didn't have a role with the current team anymore.

Score one for Gauthier today, and let's hope he continues burning the midnight oil.


James Parent said...

I like this move. Nothing to lose, much to gain if all goes well. I really don't think Dags turns into a 20 goal scorer in the NHL with any team, but even if he ends up doing it, I don't consider the Habs losers of this trade because he wasn't going to do it with us. And we gave him plenty of chances. So overall, +1 for the Goat so far.

Patrick said...

Great move!

D'Agostini always looked to me like some [easy] Ryder, always there to put it in the net, but way too unreliable in defense...

By the way, Michael Ryder is also on the trade block... (I know you know it, but I figured it was worth reminding it) ;)

Anonymous said...

Dags will have a very short carreer in the NHL if he does not realize that at the present time, he is useless as a 3rd or 4th line player.

Jean-Louis said...

Absolutely with you on this trade J.T.

More than that Gauthier just get back the second draft pick he gave for Dominic Moore !

DKerr said...


At least we didn't do anything stupid today. The Dags trade was fine, rather than risk a waiver claim, a project came back in return. Giving Guy Boucher something to work with is better than keeping Dags in the pressbox as healthy bodies push him further down the chart.

I am hoping Moore is more than a rental - if signed for next season or beyond, the 2nd rounder traded does not hurt as much.

YvresGyros said...

I was sure my exact thoughts would be echoed by coming to see what your opinion on the trade would be. I was hoping for a couple more of these trades, actually, give building blocks to our pedagogue down in Hamilton for them to have a serious run at the Calder.
It's incredibly encouraging to know that prospects are in such good hands down there, I think it is worth to turn back the clocks on our expectations and flip our failed draft picks into new material for Boucher and the crew to mold into solid NHL players.
That guy's got a transformative (if that's a word) approach on players and if Palushaj only had confidence issues, this should be solved pretty quick.
Very good move, my only regret was that there wasn't more of those.

Yanne said...

Found an interesting stat on Palushaj... Although his offensive numbers have been somewhat disappointing in his first pro season (5 goals with 17 assists in 44 games for the Rivermen this season) he showed off his skill with a 5-of-8 conversion rate in shootout tiebreakers.