A Look Back: Best/Worst Habs Trades (2004 – 2014)

Now seems like as good a time as any to get nostalgic over seasons past. Let’s take a look back over the last decade at some of the major Habs trades that have shaped the team we see today, some were for the better, and some so dumb that physical pain is brought to me just writing about them. (All stats given are accurate to the time of the trade unless specified otherwise)




Honourable Mention:  June 30, 2014 Montreal/ Colorado

To Colorado: Daniel Briere

Best Habs Trade


Daniel Briere

Age: 36
With Montreal: 69 GP 13G 12A 25PTS
Last Season: 69 GP 13G 12A 25PTS
Role: 4th line C
Contract: 2-year $4M AAV (1 year remaining)
Current Location: Colorado Avalanche


To Montreal: P.A. Parenteau + 2015 5th round pick

parenteau trade best


P.A Parenteau

Age: 31
With Colorado: 103GP 32G 44A  76PTS
Last Season: 55GP 14G 19A 33PTS
Role: 2nd/3rd line LW
Contract: 4-year $4M AAV (2 years remaining)
Current Location: Montreal Canadiens

You’ll notice the stats are a little different on this one as this trade just happened and there is no hindsight to dictate advantage, however this Habs trade was too good to not mention. We shed a veteran whose offensive production is waning, who also never fulfilled a need in the Habs offense and usually found himself centering the bottom line,  for a player 5 years younger, with a better PPG, and the potential to fill the vacant 2nd line LW spot. All of this while not affecting our salary cap at all, and not to mention the 2 contact years remaining for Parenteau meaning it’s minimal sweat off our backs should Parenteau not work out. Yeah, safe to say we won this one. Oh, and there’s also a draft pick coming back our way. Just icing on top of an already appetizing cake.

3: February 26, 2013 Montreal / Dallas

To Dallas: Erik Cole



Erik Cole

Age: 34
With Montreal: 101GP 38G 27A 67PTS
With Dallas: 103GP 24G 14A 38PTS
Role: Top 6 Winger
Contract: 4-year $4.5M AAV (1 year remaining)
Current Location: Dallas Stars


To Montreal: Michael Ryder + 2013 3rd round pick (Connor Crisp)

Ryder Best Habs Trade



Age: 32
With Dallas: 101GP 41G 35A 76PTS
With Montreal: 27GP 10G 11A 21PTS (previous years not included)
Role: Top 6 Winger
Contract: Year 2 of a 2-year $3.5M AAV
Current Location: New Jersey Devils (2-year $3.5M AAV)

Again, we were somehow able to rid ourselves of an aging offensive presence for a younger and better player. Cole was a lone bright spot in the dismal 2011-2012 season that most Habs fans have done their best to redact from memory. Teaming up with Pacioretty and Desharnais, Cole’s line was the only one capable of producing any offence. In the lockout-shortened season of 2012-2013, Cole had a very hard time recapturing that offensive spark notching just 3 goals in 19 games. As the Canadiens had returned from the Eastern Conference cellar as a playoff-bound squad, Bergevin was looking to beef up the offense and Cole was not looking at all like a man capable of contributing to a long playoff run. Enter Michael Ryder. Ryder boasts pretty much the same stats (better, actually) as Cole over the seasons prior, and considering the roles and scoring capabilities of both of these players, Bergevin essentially traded Erik Cole for a younger, better and cheaper Erik Cole going by the name of Michael. The trade more or less worked out as Ryder came into Montreal guns ablaze scoring 23 points in the last half of the campaign. Straight up, man for man, this was a fair trade, maybe a tad biased for the Canadiens. I don’t know how Bergevin does it, (hypnosis? Bullying? Dangling GMs by their ankles until draft picks fall out of their pockets?)   but he somehow managed to convince Joe Nieuwendyk that we were getting the raw deal man-for-man and needed a third to sweeten the pot. That third went on to be be Connor Crisp (currently number 22 on Mitch Brown’s Top 30 Prospects list) Montreal most definitely wins this trade.


2. March 2, 2004 Montreal / New York Rangers

To New York Rangers: Jozef Balej + 2004 2nd round draft pick (Bruce Graham)

Balej Best habs trade


Jozef Balej

Age: 23
With Montreal: 4GP 0G 0A 0PTS
With New York: 13GP 1G 4A
Role: Prospect
Contract: (No info)
Current Location: Chomutov Pirati (Czech)

Bruce Graham best habs trade


2005 2nd Round Pick (Bruce Graham)

Age: N/A (Bruce was 17)
With Montreal:
With New York:
 0GP 0G 0A 0PTS
 Undrafted Defender 
Current Location:
 Played last season with the Allen Americans of the CHL (Central Hockey League). During this off-season, Graham signed with the Nottingham Panthers of the EIHL


To Montreal: Alexi Kovalev

Kovalev habs trade


i Kovalev

Age: 31
With New York: 492GP 142G 287A 429PTS
With Montreal: 314GP 103G 173A 276 PTS
Role: No1 RW
Contract: 4-year $4.5AAV *
Current Location:

This is is a trade that looks an infinite times worse with hindsight. Everything that could have gone wrong went about as negatively as possible for the Rangers. Jozef Balej was a fairly valuable prospect after he had tallied 92 points in 62 games during the 2001-02 season with the Portland Winter Hawks and a 51st overall draft pick does quite a bit to sweeten the pot, however there are no guarantees that draft pick will garner positive returns; case in point, Bruce Graham. Not only did the 6’6″ d-man never suit up for the Rangers, he also never even played a full season in the AHL, limited to brief call-ups from the ECHL or the CHL (Central). As for Balej, Even a 92 point season in the WHL wasn’t even to qualify for a legimate shot to prove himself in the NHL as he only dressed for 18 games over the span of 3 years, with 3 different teams. Main point: The Rangers ended up giving away Kovalev, a bonafide goal scorer in his prime, who went on to play 4 extremely successful seasons in Montreal scoring almost 300 points, for two prospects who went on to contribute a grand total of 5 points to the club. Fair to say Montreal takes the advantage in this one.

1. February 25, 2007 Montreal / San Jose

To San Jose: Craig Rivet

Rivet best trade habs


Craig Rivet

With Montreal: 653GP 39G 166A 205PTS
With San Jose: 91GP 6G 37A 43PTS
Role: Top 4 D
Contract: Final year of 4-year $2.5M AAV
Current Location: Traded to Buffalo, waived by Buffalo, Claimed by Columbus. After a very brief stint in Columbus, Rivet signed with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL where he would retire

To Montreal: Josh Gorges + 2007 1st round draft pick (Max Pacioretty)

gorges best trade habs


Josh Gorges

Age: 22
With San Jose:
96GP 1G 9A 10PTS
With Montreal: 464GP 13G 75A 88PTS
Role: Reserve D
Contract: 1 year $475K
Current Location: Buffalo Sabres (I don’t wanna talk about it…)


best trade habs pacioretty


Max Pacioretty (22nd overall pick

Age: N/A (Max was 18)
With San Jose: N/A
With Montreal: 319GP 107G 106A 213PTS
Role: First line Winger
Contract: No impact on trade
Current Location: Montreal

In format alone, this trade is very similar to the previous Kovalev trade (and the more recent Vanek trade) however, the outcome could not be more different. In Kovalev’s case, the veteran went on to be very successful while the prospects never panned out in their new location. The opposite happened in this trade. The ‘prospects’ went on to be franchise players while the veteran fizzled out after 2 mediocre years. I find this trade especially bad because there is a HUGE difference in value between a first and a second pick. Kovalev in his prime gets a 2nd and a non-roster prospect, and Craig Rivet garners a 1st AND a promising young d-man with 2 seasons under his belt? Craig Rivet, who in 653GP managed all of 39 goals? There is something to be said about good defense, but if your giving up a first, a pick capable of nabbing a player like Max Pacioretty, you gotta have some offense coming back your way. But that’s just my opinion. Regarless, horrible horrible trade for San Jose, it was lopsided to begin with and only became more so as time passed.  Rivet found himself in the ECHL,  meanwhile Pacioretty is becoming the best American goal-scorer since Mike Modano, and Gorges finds himself as Gionta’s predecessor as the Habs next captain (Tragically traded before this could become reality). Yeah, Habs win by a canyon sized margin.



3. July 3, 2008 Montreal / Toronto

 To Toronto: Mikhail Grabovski

worst trade grabo

Photo: NHL.com


Age: 24
With Montreal: 27GP 3G 6A 9PTS
With Toronto:  335GP 91G 117A 208PTS
Role: Top 6 C
Contract: 2-year ELC
Current Location: New York Islanders


To Montreal: Greg Pateryn + 2010 2nd round pick (Jared Knight)

Photo: NHL.com

Photo: NHL.com


Age: 18
With Toronto:
 0GP 0G 0A 0PTS
With Montreal:
 3GP 0G 0A 0PTS
Current Location: Hamilton Bulldogs

There was also a 2nd rounder coming our way but it was traded 4 times before Boston drafted Jared Knight with it, so looking at Jared Knight’s stats wouldn’t have much impact on the decision. Technically we should include Robert Lang as he was the player the Canadiens used this pick to acquire (interesting side note: this pick went TOR -> MTL -> CHI -> TOR -> BOS being used in trades to acquire the pick that would become Brandon Saad, the aforementioned Robert Lang, and Phil Kessel, amongst others). As for the actual trade’s impact on both teams, Mikhail Grabovski went on to have 5 successful seasons as a staple in the Toronto offense, while Greg Pateryn watched the big club’s games from Hamilton all but thrice. Now at 24, Pateryn remains developing in Hamilton. Despite the longer than usual developmental period there is still hope as Pateryn continues to get better and continues to have a shot at playing in the big leagues (And finds himself at #11 on Mitch Brown’s Top 30 Prospect series). By no means did anyone ever lose sleep over this trade as no one ever really cared for Grabovski; It just would have been nice to get some more point production coming back. This is only considered a bad trade because of the 208 point disparity but it’s definitely way more lopsided 6 years later. However, that could change if Pateryn continues to progress.

2. September 30, 2006 Montreal / Dallas

To Dallas: Mike Ribeiro + 2008 6th (Matthew Tassone)

ribeiro worst habs trade


Mike Ribeiro

With Montreal:
 276GP 50G 103A 153PTS
With Dallas:
 461GP 123G 284A 407PTS
 Top 6 Forward
 1-year $1.9M 
Current Location:
 Nashville Predators

To Montreal: Janne Niinimaa + 2007 5th (Andrew Conboy)



Janne Niinimaa

Age: 31
With Dallas:
 22GP 2G 4A 6PTS
With Montreal:
 41GP 0G 3A 3PTS
 Depth Defence
 Not Available
Current Location:
 Retired (Last played for Asploven HC)


Included in the trade was a 2008 6th going to Dallas and a 2007 5th coming back to MTL. Neither of these picks spent any time in the NHL so just in terms of NHL impact it was just a man-for-man (However if we are counting, Andrew Conboy contributed more to the Canadiens franchise in his 2 full seasons in Hamilton than Tassone contributed to Dallas’ system, so there’s that).  In the same vain as the Grabovski trade, No one was beat up about Ribeiro’s departure considering his poisonous personality. Looking at production alone, this is a horrendous trade. The vowel cocktail that is Niinimaa was less than stellar to begin with and only got worse putting up 3 points and a -13 41 game season while Ribeiro put up 6 full seasons in Dallas at just about 1 PPG. You have to think we would have been able to get something decent in return, or at least a better consonant to vowel ratio.

1. June 30, 2009 Montreal / New York Rangers

To New York: Ryan McDonagh + Chris Higgins + Doug Janik* + Pavel Valenteko* (*Not Pictured)



Ryan McDonagh

Age: 20
With Montreal: 0GP 0G 0A 0PTS
With New York: 246GP 26G 77A 103 PTS
Role: Highly touted prospect
Current Location:
 New York Rangers (Likely to be named as their next Captain)




Chris Higgins

Age: 26
With Montreal:
 282GP 84G 67G 151PTS 
With New York:
 55GP 6G 8A 14PTS
 mid-6 Forward
 1-year $2.25M
Current Location:
 Vancouver Canucks



To Montreal: Scott Gomez + Tom Pyatt + Michael Busto (not pictured)



Scott Gomez

Age: 29
With New York:
 158GP 32G 96A 128PTS
With Montreal:
 196 GP 21G 78A 99PTS 
 Should have been Top 6 F, ended up being captain of the press box
 7 YEARS $7.357M AAV!!!
Current Location:
 After being BOUGHT OUT, Gomez signed two 1-year deals worth less than 1 mil with San Jose and then with Florida the following year. Now a UFA.




Tom Pyatt

Age: 22
With New York:
 0GP 0G 0A 0PTS
With Montreal: 101GP 4G 8A 12PTS
Role: Depth F
Contract: 3-year ELC
Current Location: Found moderate success in Tampa Bay for 3 seasons. Has signed to play for Geneve-Servette HC of the Swiss league

Thanks, Bob Gainey. Also, whenever you’re ready to make a public apology, we’re listening, seriously, anytime works.

Gainey made a trade so HORRIBLE, the league SHUT ITSELF DOWN to make up a rule to MERCY KILL Gomez’s ABHORENT contract to put all Habs fans out of their misery. Obviously I still have a bit of animosity over this abomination. Take a minute to imagine a defensive core consisting of PK Subban, Alexei Emelin, Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi, and RYAN MCDONAGH! That could have been ours but hey, Gomez was cool too (seriously Gainey, apologize for this monstrosity) Alright, its been fun, I’m gunna go punch a wall.


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6 Responses to A Look Back: Best/Worst Habs Trades (2004 – 2014)

  1. I think we should make an «anyversary» every year, and send him our best feelings, and telling him «we’re still waiting for that appology»!

    Cris August 23, 2014 at 4:44 pm Reply
  2. Shit on the Gomez trade all you want, but people forget what was going on at the time. NO superstar wanted to come to Habsland if they could help it. That trade was bait to bring in Gionta and Cammalleri.

    Trevor August 23, 2014 at 6:28 pm Reply
    • Let’s be honest, Gainey was just throwing shit at a wall and hoping it stuck. He’s lucky that it worked pretty well for the one season, but the wheels really started to fall off after that. Even if getting Gomez to attract Camm and Gionta was his intention, his plan did not work in the long run and we were stuck with Gomez while McDonagh kills it in NY

      All About The Habs August 25, 2014 at 9:12 am Reply
  3. Then he shouldn’t let go Kovalev, Koivu and Tanguay, there was a line that worked incredibily well at the end of a season, they should get another shot, for instance.
    I don’t believe this sh.. that free agents wouldn’t come here, at that time. They let relatively good players go (Suray, Streit) because of the …principle of not paying big money for, but he gladly payed huge money for Gomez and Gionta… bluff…

    Cris August 23, 2014 at 7:07 pm Reply
  4. They were scapegoats, they weren’t living up to their potential. The money was just a nice way of saying that…

    Trevor August 24, 2014 at 8:38 pm Reply
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