This post is in response to Eric Engels’ post entitled “No Brainer: Habs Should Offer Guerin a Contract“.
In principle, I agree with almost everything written. Guerin has some gas left in the tank, is a right-handed shot for the Canadiens powerplay and is a respected leader. He brings grit and toughness that the Habs are sorely lacking. I wouldn’t mind seeing Guerin in a Habs jersey for a season. But can it work?
It’s all well and good to fantasize about it, but let’s quickly look at the numbers. The Canadiens have 4.13 million left in cap space, and still need to sign Carey Price. Let’s assume that the current rumour is true and that Price is about to sign for 2.75 million dollars. That leaves the Canadiens 1.38 million to sign Guerin, and preserve some buffer space for injuries, call ups and a potential trade deadline pick up. Let’s make the further assumption that Guerin would accept 1 million to sign with the Canadiens. One of the popular refrains from fans is to say “get the guy and worry about the cap later”. That’s awfully easy to say when you’re not the one with millions of fans breathing down your neck. The other justification fans trot out there is “the GM just needs to be creative”. Creative huh? In the same way New Jersey is trying to be creative with the Kovalchuk situation? Or creative in the same way Darryl Sutter thinks what’s old is new again? Creative is a very vague, very subjective thing…but I digress.
Signing Guerin for a million would leave the Canadiens tighter than Kiera Knightley in a corset (you’re welcome for the visual), with a paltry $380,000 left. Yikes.
For all the good things that Guerin brings to the rink, do the Canadiens need another guy to enter the “leadership equation”?
Jacques Martin is going to nominate a captain soon. I’m pretty sure that captain, whoever it turns out to be would admit that he (behind closed doors, of course) would like some elbow room to establish himself as captain. That gets a little harder to do with Guerin around. This isn’t a case where Guerin mentors Sidney Crosby while he navigates the waters of captaincy. Guerin is a leader by nature, and a vocal one. You don’t bring a guy with his character in to the room and ask him to stay quiet and let the current core lead. His presence in the room would only stifle and confuse what’s already been built upon. I’m not saying Guerin is a bad seed. It’s more a case of pouring a fine scotch in to a glass of expensive red wine and expecting the combination to taste good.
The other exercise is to find a place for Guerin to play. He’s not going to play on the top 2 lines. At least not right away. The top 6 is set, and the only thing that would change that is if either Andrei Kostitsyn or Benoit Pouliot drop the ball, or if somebody gets hurt. Admittedly, that would probably happen at some point. Would Guerin fit in the bottom 6? I think we can agree that having him as a 4th liner is a waste of everyone’s time, especially Guerin’s. What good is he with the likes of Boyd, Pyatt, Darche or Lapierre? Perhaps there’s a fit with Eller and Moen as a grinding line with some offensive punch. That’s a big if.
If Carey Price signs for less than $2.25 million, then I’d say go ahead and offer Guerin a million bucks. At least then you’d have space to make an emergency call up from Hamilton.
Personally I wouldn’t sacrifice all of my remaining cap space for a guy whose presence would come with positives and negatives. In that case that Price gets closer to 3 million, I’d prefer to see if Max Pacioretty can crack the roster again.
I like Bill Guerin, but in my opinion, the stars aren’t aligning properly for him to don the bleu-blanc-rouge. I wouldn’t cry if it did happen, and in the end if it did happen I’d probably be happy with the move, but I think with so little cap room left, and not much roster space available, it may not be the best, or even a necessary move at this time.
In my opinion, he’d be a dream trade deadline acquisition, if whatever team he’s with falls out of the post season picture. By then his cap hit will be negligible and his intangibles as a locker room presence become less of a potential hazard to the established leadership, as it will already have had time to establish itself.
What do you think? Should the Habs try and get Guerin on the cheap?