Breaking down the Michael Cammalleri-Rene Bourque deal

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It’s official, the Montreal Canadiens shipped Michael Cammalleri to the Calgary Flames for a package that includes Rene Bourque. Here are the exact details, straight from NHL.com:

Flames receive:

Cammalleri
Goalie Karri Ramo
2012 fifth-round pick

Canadiens receive:

Bourque
Forward Patrick Holland
2013 second-round pick

The on-ice impact

I’d venture to say that Holland and Ramo are a wash in the grand scheme of things. You cannot totally ignore a nice upgrade in draft picks, but ultimately this trade will most likely be viewed as Bourque for Cammalleri.

Cammalleri has two 30+ goal seasons and two more 20+ goal seasons as he’s in the middle of his ninth NHL season (seven of which could be considered “full”). He’s a point-per-game playoff performer (32 in 32 games), with his heroics in the 2010 playoff run providing the most compelling evidence. Cammalleri also has familiarity with the Flames franchise; he produced a career-best 82 points in 2008-09, his lone campaign in Calgary.

Bourque has produced at least 21 goals in his last three seasons including two consecutive 27-goal outputs. He hasn’t shown the same total points ceiling, however; Cammalleri has two 80+ point seasons while Bourque peaked at 58 in 2009-10.

Contract considerations

Cammalleri carries a $6 million cap hit through the 2013-14 season. His salary matches his cap hit this season while he’ll be paid $7 million in the following two seasons. Cammalleri is 29 years old.

Bourque’s $3.33 million cap hit expires after the 2015-16 campaign (check out his salary breakdown at CapGeek.com). Bourque turned 30 in December.

PHT’s take

The Flames acquired a more talented player and likely extinguished any thought that they might go into a rebuilding mode soon. Cammalleri has shown that he can be an elite sniper and Calgary will pay accordingly.

Bourque makes the Canadiens a bigger team and represents a significant price cut for a roster soaking with bad decisions. From a hockey standpoint, this seems like another shaky move, but at least this one holds the rare distinguishing point of saving them some money. (Unlike, say, trading for Scott Gomez.)

The corporate spin

Habs GM Pierre Gauthier shrugged off the idea that Cammalleri’s comments were a catalyst for the trade, instead emphasizing that the team needs to score “harder goals” rather than fancy ones. Gauthier explained that part of the reason the trade was made tonight was because Bourque is closer to concluding his recent suspension. There might be some fact to both general managers’ claims that the trade has been discussed, but you’d have to be naive to assume that Cammy’s critiques had nothing to do with this.

Flames GM Jay Feaster provided this press release:

“Mike Cammalleri is a dynamic player who enjoyed great success playing in Calgary,” stated Flames General Manager Jay Feaster. “We believe Cammalleri will help our offensive production, solidify a second scoring line, bolster our power play, and bring another strong veteran voice to our room. We are confident that a return to Calgary will be good for Mike and good for our continued pursuit of a playoff berth.”

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OK, so it looks like a win for Calgary in a vacuum, but a big risk at the bank. What do you think, though? I acknowledge the urge to say that both teams lost – to some extent, that’s true – but if you had to choose a winner, which GM made out better?