Is Pierre Gauthier that good a chess player?

Good chess players are able to see six and seven moves ahead as they plan their game. Gauthier may have been doing the same thing in acquiring Finnish-born goaltender Karri Ramo in a trade for Hamilton goaltender Cedrick Desjardins Monday. What the Canadiens GM did was acquire a player who won’t be available to the team until the 2011-2012 season. Ramo is contracted to play the second year of a two year contract he signed last June with Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League.

The expiration of Ramo’s contract will co-incide with the end of a one-year deal the Canadiens GM signed with veteran Alex Auld after he traded Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis. Auld goes out; Ramo moves in.  On the surface at least, this seems to be very solid advance planning.

Still, the trade will raise some questions. The Tampa Bay Lightning will be  coached by Guy Boucher, who coached Cedrick Desjardins last season In Hamilton as he led the entire American Hockey League with a 2.00 GAA while recording 6 shutouts. One could logically assume Boucher had a big voice in the trade talks. By the same token, when it came to the playoff run, after Curtis Sanford Hamilton’s other goaltender, Curtis Sanford, was healthy, Desjardins rode the bench through the Bulldogs’ final eight playoff games. That was not a good sign.

Desjardins is and even six feet tall. Ramo is 6’2”. With new rules regarding goaltender’s equipment about to be embedded in the NHL, many think those extra two inches are going to seem like a yard when it comes to net coverage. That factor was probably the tiebreaker when it came to the decision to trade Halak rather than Carey Price.

Let the second guessing begin.  Like almost all trades, history decides their wisdom or folly.