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The first news was that Christopher Higgins(notes), a Long Island native, was being traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the New York Rangers (via Kevin Allen of USA Today on Twitter).

Then came the bombshell: Scott Gomez(notes), signed through 2014 with a $7.357 million cap hit annually, was finally jettisoned from Broadway, according to TSN. The full trade:

The Montreal Canadiens have acquired centre Scott Gomez, winger Tom Pyatt(notes) and defenceman Mike Busto from the New York Rangers in exchange for winger Chris Higgins and defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko(notes) from the Montreal Canadiens.

Amazing.

Amazing that Glen Sather found a taker for Gomez and that contract, which just today was named one of the worst free-agent signings in recent memory by Sports Illustrated. Amazing that this salary dump opens up so many avenues for John Tortorella and the Rangers this summer, from Dany Heatley(notes) to Martin St. Louis(notes) (if the Lightning would ever surrender him). Wednesday could be a shopping spree for the Blueshirts.

(UPDATE: Rangers Report claims Heatley's headed to the Rangers tonight.)

Amazing that a player like Ryan McDonagh would come back the other way, too. Isn't that the kind of player the salary dumper usually gives up to sweeten the pot?

Amazing that the Habs, in their desperate search for a No. 1 center, would bring this salary onto their payroll. Sure, they've got oodles of cap room; but the Sedins are out there and so are Mike Komisarek(notes) and Alex Tanguay(notes) and Saku Koivu(notes). (And, if not now then maybe one day, Lecavalier.) This eats up a chunk.

From Bob Gainey:

"We are extremely pleased to have acquired an impact centreman in Scott Gomez. He is an outstanding playmaker and an excellent skater. Having won the Stanley Cup twice with the New Jersey Devils, he brings to tour team a lot of playoff experience. Scott is an elite player who will certainly contribute to the success of our team for years to come."

Gomez is an elite player, for sure; but he's also a gamble. Gomez was an ill-fit with the Rangers, never finding chemistry with his wingers (not even with Jagr, compared to Michael Nylander(notes)) and never looking comfortable in Tom Renney's system before his firing. He's a dynamic open-ice skater and creative with the puck, and we always thought Gomez could be a 85-90 point man in the right offensive-oriented system.

Except now the Canadiens have traded for him to play in Jacques Martin's system. Like we said: Amazing.

Four Habs Fans nails it, as usual: "Finally, the overpaid undersized center we've been dreaming of."

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