Friday, January 9, 2009

Pacioretty and Gorges: A Look At Bob Gainey's Crafty Move From Two Years Ago

On February 25, 2007, the Montreal Canadiens veteran defenseman Craig Rivet and a fifth round selection in 2008 were sent to the San Jose Sharks for young defenseman Josh Gorges and a first round selection in 2007 (Max Pacioretty).

Now a member of the Buffalo Sabres, Rivet helped the Sharks go deep in the playoffs the past two seasons — even though they weren't able to make it to the finals. In 91 games with the Sharks, Rivet scored six goals and 37 assists for 43 points.

He was later traded this summer along with San Jose's seventh round selection in 2010 to the Buffalo Sabres for a second round choice in 2009 and a second round choice in 2010.

Meanwhile, Josh Gorges blossomed into a very reliable defenseman over his two years in Montreal. At first, things were not quite easy for Gorges as he was a frequent healthy scratch for most of the 2007 season.

However, last season he finally made it as a regular rearguard and played 62 games, notching nine assists beside his partner Francis Bouillon.

Gorges, 24, has seen an increase of ice-time this season being used in every situation (even on the powerplay), and his statistics have improved accordingly. Gorges already has one goal and seven assists for eight points in 40 games. He has a team-best +18 plus/minus differential good for the tenth rank league-wide.

The key element of that trade is Max Pacioretty. He finally made it to the NHL this season, thanks to numerous injuries to key Habs players.

He registered 15 goals, 24 assists and 39 points in 37 games after a great season with the University of Michigan: Ann Arbor last year. After Michigan, Pacioretty signed his first NHL contract, a three year entry level pact, this summer with the Canadiens.

Recalled from Hamilton on January 1st, 2009, Pacioretty scored his first NHL goal on his first shot on his four to one loss against New Jersey. Now playing on a line with veterans Alex Kovalev and Tomas Plekanec, Max Pax has tallied two goals and one assist for three points after only four games.

Pacioretty is a good power forward with above average skills — a good skater with quick feet. He handles the puck very well, and he has a good wrist shot with quick release. His size and tenacity allow him to drive to the net consistently.

Max Pacioretty will likely be this year's Sergei Kostitsyn even when Koivu, Higgins and Tanguay come back from their injuries.


No comments: