Making Sense of The Montoya Trade

The amazing general manager Marc Bergevin has done it again, trading injured backup Al Montoya, for a conditional 4th (It’s a 4th if he plays a certain amount of games, it’s a 5th if he doesn’t). How does this stack up against other trades for backup goalies recently? This doesn’t include trades like the Budaj trade or the Justin Peters trade. The Budaj trade is an example of a trade where arguably the goalie in question may be a temporary backup, the Peters and Budaj trade were part of a much bigger deal, where as the Montoya trade was a 1 on 1.

 

The Enroth trade:

The Setting

After being signed as a free agent to backup starting goalie Frederik Andersen by the Maple Leafs, Enroth did horrible in the games he played in the NHL, and the Leafs already had goalies in the AHL who showed promise, so it was obvious that Enroth, a free agent the next year, was on his way out of Toronto. Who was willing to take him?

The Trade:

Turns out, the Ducks were up for it, and sent away a 2018 7th rounder.

The Aftermath:

Enroth was immediately sent to the AHL (and did great), and moved to Europe the next year. The Leafs on the other hand still have their pick.

Why this is comparable to the Montoya trade:

Like the Leafs, the Canadiens already had a backup fitting for their starter, so Montoya needed out. Bergevin got more for his backup than Toronto.

Why this is nothing like the Montoya trade:

Montoya had A. established himself as a solid backup in the NHL, unlike Enroth, who seemed to be flip-flopping all over his future, and B. The only reason Montoya was replaced was due to him being injured, he didn’t play himself out of Montreal like Enroth played himself out of Toronto. Enroth was more of an AHL caliber goalie when he was traded unlike Montoya who is a veteran backup goalie. So maybe this shouldn’t be the basis of what Montreal could’ve gotten.

 

The Condon trade

The Setting:

Condon was one of many backup goalies that ended up becoming a hero as the result of Carey Price being injured in Montreal. Suddenly, like literally every goalie thrust into starting and being a miracle goalie for Montreal, Condon had a bad start to his next season (See: Tokarski, Dustin) and was put on waivers to go to the AHL. Pittsburgh of course was experiencing a goalie dilemma, with Matt Murray out with a broken hand, they suddenly are in need of a backup. Who else to claim but Condon. But after a while, Condon’s career was in a bit of trouble, Murray is back, and Condon was on his way to the minors. Around this time as you may remember that Craig Anderson’s wife was diagnosed with cancer, so he took time off to tend to her.

The Trade:

Mike Condon for a 5th round pick

 

The Aftermath:

This ended up being a total robbery, as Condon basically saved the Senator’s season, and is still their backup. That 5th rounder turned into Jan Drozg, who although is a good player, will probably not make the same impact that Condon has with the Sens.

Why this is comparable to the Montoya trade:

Mike Condon is a high quality backup like Montoya, and the Pens already had a backup (Can we mention that flipping Marc-Andre Fleury was the backup that year?), like the Habs, and they both had/have the possibility of receiving a 5th for them.

Why this is nothing like the Montoya trade:

This trade was, like I said before, a total robbery. Condon had already proven he could be a starting goalie in the NHL, and was younger than Montoya. Condon should’ve gotten more than a 5th, but so far that is two trades supporting Marc Bergevin.

 

The Nilsson Trade

The Setting:

The Blues have just signed backup Carter Hutton, making Nilsson almost pointless on this team. Buffalo on the other hand still has some goalie problem that will never be solved.

The Trade:

Anders Nilsson for a 5th round pick

The Aftermath:

Nilsson fared well in his one year with Buffalo, winning 10 and losing 10 games, before being signed in free agency by the Canucks. That 5th round eventually turned into David Noel, who will probably not be a piece of the Blues, at least for a while.

Why this is comparable to the Montoya trade

Nilsson is a backup, along with Montoya, and in both trades they have been replaced. Also, the return might be identical (that conditional 4th/5th in the Montoya trade). In fact these trades are almost the same.

Why this isn’t comparable to the Montoya trade

Nilsson isn’t as good at Montoya in my opinion, although he’s younger, he has a losing record, and his career numbers aren’t as impressive as Montoya’s, even though Montoya’s numbers take a hit from his subpar few games this season. This is the first trade that implies that Bergevin didn’t get the return he should’ve.

 

The Backstrom trade

The Setting:

Niklas Backstrom, the former star goalie for the Minnesota Wild, had crept into a much more minor role after the arrival of Devan Dubnyk, and had actually been on the bench for the entire season. It was evident that he was paid too much to sit on the bench, he was on his way out.

The Trade:

Niklas Backstrom (and a 6th) for David Jones

The Aftermath:

Backstrom played an entire 4 games (2 wins 2 losses) before, the next season, returning to his original team in Europe. David Jones played 16 out of 18 games before the end of the season, scoring three points before retiring.

How this trade is comparable to the Montoya trade

Both Backstrom and Montoya are/were veteran high quality backup goalies who were forced out of their teams by new goalies

How this trade is nothing like the Montoya trade

Backstrom was packaged with a pick, who turned into Matthew Phillips, now a Flames prospect, not one to make a huge impact, but probably more than Jones did. I also must add that the Wild got back an actual player, not a future pick/mystery. So the Wild knew exactly what they were getting. The main thing that makes these two trades incomparable is the pick sent WITH Backstrom. Now we have a swap for rental players plus a prospect, so now you would need to calculate the value of that prospect/pick to see what the Wild actually got back for Jones. But assuming at the time the 6th wasn’t a huge piece, the Wild got back an NHL rental forward for a goalie in a similar situation as Montoya, but is that more or less than a 4th/5th? That could be up for debate.

 

The Lack Trade

The Setting

Lack is set to become a free agent the next year, and the Canucks didn’t want to pay Lack big money, they already had a cheaper option as a backup to Ryan Miller, a goalie named Jacob Markstrom. The Hurricanes were looking for a backup. So on the second day of the NHL draft, the Canucks made a move. (Just a tidbit, this draft was the draft the Canucks drafted Brock Boeser)

The Trade

Eddie Lack for a 3rd and 7th round pick.

The Aftermath

Lack was eventually traded with former highly touted prospect Ryan Murphy, and a 2019 7th rounder, to the Flames for Keegan Kanzig and a 2019 6th. He was traded again to New Jersey for Dalton Prout. The 3rd round pick turned into Guillaume Brisebois, currently a Canucks prospect on defense in the AHL. The 7th rounder turned into Brett McKenzie, a two way centre prospect for the Canucks, but is unlikely to be a major part of the team.

How this trade is comparable to the Montoya trade

Both goalies, like many on this list, had their role taken, or in danger, by another goalie, and both fetched a pick (or more). Also, both were considered by some as fan favourites.

How this trade is nothing like the Montoya trade

Lack got a larger return than Montoya, with 2 picks, 1 being higher than the entire return Montoya can get (A 4th or 5th). That makes this another trade that shows that Bergevin could’ve gotten more for Montoya

 

That makes two trades supporting the move, two trades that don’t, and a trade that’s completely up to debate. Now, whether Marc Bergevin has screwed up again or not is entirely up to you.

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