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Breaking down the Michael Cammalleri-Rene Bourque deal

Jan 12, 2012, 10:49 PM EDT

cammalleriontheflames AP

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

Flames receive:

Goalie Karri Ramo
2012 fifth-round pick

Canadiens receive:

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 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.”


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?

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 12, 2012 at 11:29 PM

    Flames won, no question. The Habs have officially thrown in the towel on this season. Everything Mike said about them being a bunch of losers was just proven to be true.

  2. tmjm621 - Jan 12, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    Unbelievable…..idk what to say. Calgarys management pisses me off.

    • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:01 AM

      what ??? why… can I assume you just simply have no clue what you are talking about here… Unless that 2nd round pick turns in to a Duncan Keith / Shea Webber player in 5 years, I’d say the Flames won EASY

  3. frozengolf - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    Montreal wins this trade, look at the recent stats. Bourque has scored more goals and points over the last three years. Montreal gets rid of a a one-dimentional smurf who never goes into the corners and is clearly a distraction in the dressing room. Montreal gets a big, tough guy who can score, a prospect and a 2nd round pick? Good trade for the Habs. Plus the savings for the cap room.

    • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:19 AM

      Cammalleri spoke the truth and in no way was a distraction… the media is a distraction, and their stupid GM.

  4. yettyskills - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    All these Habs fans bashing Mike Cammalleri make me laugh.

    His 10 points in 7 playoff games last year was what?
    His 13 goals in 19 playoff games the year before were what?

    Carrying the offense for the Habs during the only time it counts
    The Playoffs

  5. cmb79 - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:23 AM

    Cammy is just another scapegoat for Gauthier who has made so many errors with the team that I hope it’s only a matter of time before he gets the boot as well. The cap-savings is the only remotely good thing about the deal.

    The slight window opening that they had the last two years has been completely bolted shut. The bad thing is, with so many bloated contracts still sitting around, there’s absolutely no way they can even think about a rebuild; whether it’s total or on-the-fly. It’s likely gonna get real bad before it gets better.

    So, infuriating. And people think having a non-French-speaking coach (who, right now, looks completely over his head) is the problem?

  6. nzdog - Jan 13, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    $$, draft choice benefit to Habs, talent to the Flames, Flames say they are committed to younger talent, not so sure as it’s obvious they need to win this year. Once again trying to relive past years, aka Tanguay, Jokinen ( working out to date ), Cammy. Will wait on this one.

  7. dipthatchip - Jan 13, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    at least the Canadiens don’t have to worry about getting an elbow from Borque now. *&%# i hate that dude

  8. whatswellydoing - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Flames won the trade, but I don’t really get the decision. Shouldn’t they be looking to rebuild at this stage?

    • cmb79 - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:51 PM

      As I said, rebuilding is hard to do with the current cap problems.

  9. genitaltao - Jan 13, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Most french canadian hab do not blame cammalari for the failure of this team and where not overly shocked by his comments. Obviously the media had a field day spinning this story. We are well awaree that the GM must go!!! Dehors Gauthier. Mike C, jaroslav H were part of that 2010 playoff run, we will forever remember their contribution to the most exciting time in our team recent history, so please stop bashing the french canadian fans because you are off track.

  10. rex4hockey - Jan 14, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    This reminds me of my years working in hockey front offices, laughing at fan opinions. Cammy was a cancer in the locker roomin L.A., all my contacts told me he had not grown up at all by the time he got to Montreal, so if you want to evaluate this trade, here’s the bottom line fact: Cammy is all about himself, and Borque was undisciplined on the ice this season in Calgary. You can look at stats all day long, and that’s what a hockey fan blogger or man on the street will do. But anyone can do that, and to write about it without having been there shortchanges the readers, and the facts. Mike will score, and he will alienate himself from his teammates after the first time he doesn’t get a pass he thinks he deserved. This trade is a 100% win for the Habs. Cancers destroy every locker room I’ve ever been in , and all the Iginlas in the world won’t change a selfish player like Mike.

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