By Thomas Harrington
One year ago today, the Anaheim Ducks traded defenseman Bryan Allen to the Montreal Canadiens for forward Rene Bourque. This was an odd trade because it didn’t work out great for either side in terms of what they got, but both teams were happy with what they parted with. Neither player lasted the season with their new team as both struggled to fit in. Bourque had been waived by Montreal a couple weeks before the trade, but the Ducks would only take the struggling winger if they could send salary back the other way.
The Ducks had signed Allen to a three year deal worth a $3.5 million a season in July 2012. The Ducks had failed to make the playoffs the previous season, and had fired Randy Carlyle midway through the season and brought in Bruce Boudreau. At the time, Cam Fowler was still a young player coming into his own, fans were hoping Luca Sbisa would turn into the player we all hoped he would be when he was acquired in the Chris Pronger deal, and Nate Guenin and Sheldon Brookbank were still a part of Anaheim’s blueline. The Ducks clearly needed an upgrade on defense, and the hope was that the hulking Allen would be that upgrade. He wasn’t brought in for his offensive skill, but rather to be a large physical presence that the team didn’t have. In his first two seasons in Anaheim, Allen played in over 100 games and recorded 16 assists. He primarily played on the bottom pairing and played well while the Ducks were shorthanded. He was most effective for the Ducks at the end of the 2013-14 season and into the playoffs. However, that summer, the Ducks signed Clayton Stoner to a four-year deal.
At the time of the Stoner signing, it looked like the end of Allen’s time in Anaheim. However, Allen was still with the team when training camp opened that fall. He suffered a lower body injury and returned to active duty in November. He appeared in six games for the Ducks that month before being traded to Montreal.
In January of 2012, Bourque was traded to Montreal from Calgary. In Calgary, Bourque had broken the 20 goal mark three times, but in his time in Montreal Bourque never scored more than nine goals in a season. Bourque’s fitness level and effort were often called into question during his time in Montreal. He did explode for eight goals in 17 games in during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Canadiens advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. Before being traded to the Ducks, Bourque played in 13 games to start the season for Montreal, but failed to register a goal and had only two assists.
Allen joined Montreal but he only lasted for five games before Montreal decided to waive him. He recorded one assist in the five games before being demoted to the AHL. He played his last game for Montreal in early December, but wasn’t sent to the AHL until January.
The Ducks weren’t getting the production out of some of their young players and they acquired Bourque to try and either make up for their lack of offense or inspire them to put the back in the net more. At the time of the trade, Jakob Silfverberg, Devante Smith-Pelly, and Emerson Etem had a combined six goals between them. Kyle Palmieri had missed the start of the season and had only played in a couple of games and scored one goal. Unfortunately, Bourque wasn’t able to fill in that offensive void, only scoring twice in 30 games for the Ducks. He just never really fit in and never established a spot for himself in the lineup. The Ducks ended up trading him at the deadline to Columbus in the deal that brought James Wisniewski to Anaheim.
The Ducks were hoping they were getting the player who had eight goals in 17 playoff games, and not the player who was waived by Montreal. Montreal was hoping they’d get a big, physical presence on the blueline. Neither team got the player they were hoping for, but both teams were able to unload players who were no longer useful to them. So while neither team can claim to have won this trade, it’s fair to say that neither team got fleeced in the deal. In the end, Allen was waived and left the Montreal organization at the end of the season. Bourque was used in the Wisniewski deal, who ended up getting traded as well when the Ducks brought in Anton Khudobin, their current backup. So even though Bourque didn’t work out in the end, the Ducks did eventually end up with a useful player.
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