He is not the most mobile of NHL defenceman but he's a 6'7" experienced NHL'er and not the player you let go when making a run for the play-offs. Not unless you've decided it's not your year and it's time to become a seller.
That is arguably the thinking of Montreal Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier as he traded his number one penalty-killing defenceman, Hal Gill, to the Nashville Predators on Friday, Feb. 17 for a pair of minor league players, Blake Geoffrion and Robert Slaney, and a second-round draft pick in June.
Montreal Canadiens: Playoffs Fading
Montreal sits 13th in the Eastern Conference, a full 8 points back of the Toronto Maple Leafs and eighth spot. They have played the same amount of games as Toronto and need to pass four teams to get to that playoff spot. The seventh place Ottawa Senators are 12 points up on Montreal. With 24 games left it's a long shot.
Meanwhile, the Nashville Predators are in 5th in the Western Conference and look playoff bound for the second consecutive year. Their GM feels that getting a penalty kill guy from a team that's first in the league on the PK is sure to help his club, which is 25th.
"Hal Gill brings our team a number of elements - size, penalty-killing ability, depth on defence and playoff experience,'' Poile said Friday. ``He has won a Stanley Cup (with Pittsburgh) and played a combined 69 playoff games over the last four years, experience that significantly benefits our team.''
The 36-year-old Gill has a goal and 7 assists this season and 36 goals and 143 assists for 179 points in his 1047 games played over 14 NHL seasons. He has 940 NHL penalty minutes.
Big day for Blake Geoffrion
Slaney is an undrafted 23-year-old winger who fills more the defensive role and has not played an NHL game and, from Newfoundland, has not special ties to Montreal. Not the case with Geoffrion, who, should he play a game for Montreal, will become the fourth generation of his family to suit up for the bleu, blanc et rouge.
Geoffrion's great-grandfather was superstar Howie Morenz, who scored 256 goals for Montreal in the 20's and 30's. His grandfather, Bernie 'Boom Boom' Geoffrion, credited with inventing the slapshot, played 14 years for Montreal in the 50's and 60's and scored 373 goals for the franchise. Geoffrion's dad, Dan, was a former first round pick of Montreal, though he played only a handful of games there and scored all his 20 NHL goals with the Winnipeg Jets.
Blake Geoffrion has played 42 NHL games, all with Nashville, and has 6 goals. Geoffrion just turned 24 on Feb. 3. He is being assigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL but tweeted that he was excited about having a chance to play on the team that has so much family history.
"Going to where it all started with my family...MONTREAL!!!'' he tweeted.