Canadiens boost blueline depth by dealing Rene Bourque to Ducks for Bryan Allen

The Canadiens and Ducks made a deal Thursday, with Rene Bourque heading to Anaheim and Bryan Allen moving to Montreal. The deal is a win for the Habs based on salary cap considerations, and if Bourque rediscovers his game, both sides can claim victory.

Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has been one of the NHL’s busier wheelers-and-dealers of late, acquiring veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar from Dallas for Travis Moen last week and adding to the changes Thursday by dealing out-of-favor winger Rene Bourque to Anaheim in exchange for blueliner Bryan Allen.

That the soon-to-be 33-year-old Bourque was a goner from Montreal is no surprise; the team waived and demoted him to the American League earlier this month after being frustrated once again with his lack of production and engagement during the regular season. He bought himself some time last spring with eight goals and 11 points in 17 playoff games for the Habs, but after only posting a pair of assists in 13 games this season, Bergevin had seen enough.

Bourque will get another shot on a very good Ducks team that doesn’t need him to do anything other than recapture that playoff form; the risk for the Ducks is they’ve traded away Allen’s $3.5-million expiring contract and are taking on Bourque’s deal that extends through next year at a $3.33-million cap hit. Gaining that cap flexibility for next season undoubtedly was one of Montreal’s reasons behind the transaction, and they do so while adding the 34-year-old Allen’s big body to give them depth on the back end as they envision a deep playoff run.

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All in all, not an earth-shaking swap by any stretch of the imagination, but given that Bergevin has now freed up more than $5.1 million in cap space for next season in the last two trades, this one has to be considered at minimum a win for the Habs. If Bourque can shake off his reputation and be rejuvenated in Anaheim, both sides can be happy with the deal.