Daily Hab-it: A head scratcher
Montreal Canadiens' Josh Gorges (26) congratulates goalie Carey Price (31) as Scott Gomez (11) walks away following an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010. Montreal won 3-2. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Published Saturday, July 23, 2011 12:13AM EDT
The Canadiens got Josh Gorges signed late Friday night to a very reasonable $2.5 million contract, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing scheduled for Thursday.
That's the good news.
The bad news is the one-year term on the contract, which means Gorges will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
As I've pointed out on a couple of occasions here and here, purchasing Gorges' UFA years was a complicated process. His strengths are not tangible, they are difficult to chart in black and white with statistics and they are therefore even more difficult to price in dollars and cents.
Further complicating things was Gorges' continued recovery from reconstructive knee surgery.
Ultimately, it appears that Pierre Gauthier decided it was best to push dealing with these complications to next summer, even though he was already faced with negotiating new contracts for Carey Price and P.K. Subban.
Personally, I don't understand it.
Gorges appeared more than willing to sign a long-term deal, though he obviously wanted to be paid handsomely to do so. However, it can easily be argued that signing such a long-term deal will cost the Canadiens a lot more money next summer than it would have now.
The concern over his injury doesn't really jive either seeing as Gorges played on a knee with a torn ACL for seven years, or the entirety of his professional career. I am in no position to be questioning the Canadiens medical staff, which may have expressed some reservations about the state of Gorges' knee to Gauthier. But that would strike me as being extremely odd considering how well Gorges was able to play on a compromised knee, and for how long.
Gorges is not a huge man, he's not particularly fast, he's not overly physical, but he knows what he needs to do to do his job. And he does it extremely well through a sheer force of will, one that can become infectious when a teammate isn't feeling it on a given night.
This was an opportunity to lock up that kind of influence and work ethic and reliability for a very long time.
The fact it didn't get done is extremely puzzling.