Marc Bergevin took a lot of heat this summer after dealing fan-favorite defenseman P.K. Subban to Nashville for Shea Weber. Subban is four yours younger than Weber and while he carries a higher annual cap charge ($9MM versus $7.857MM), his deal expires four years earlier than Weber’s. Nonetheless, as Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette writes, Bergevin knows only time will tell how this trade ultimately works out for the Canadiens.
Montreal is clearly banking on the “leadership and stability” Weber provides as a two-time Olympic gold medal winner. Subban is flashier, according to Hickey, and known for being a bit of a risk-taker. At one point last season it did seem as if the Canadiens were growing tired of Subban’s gambling nature and would prefer a more conservative approach on the ice.
With Weber (31) on board and franchise goalie Carey Price set to turn 30 next summer, the belief is the Canadiens window to win may be closing, lending further justification for Bergevin to pull the trigger on the Subban trade. But as Hickey noted, Bergevin doesn’t believe in windows:
“There are too many variables. In today’s NHL, it turns around fast. I look at Buffalo. I know they have injuries, but they came a long way quick. There’s a price to pay. Obviously, the best way (to improve) is the draft and you saw the kid (Maple Leafs rookie Auston) Matthews with four goals in his first game. He’s going to be a very good player, but there was a price to pay to get him.”
It’s an interesting perspective from the Habs GM and Hickey’s piece contains additional tidbits on a couple of the Canadiens’ top young players and Bergevin’s thoughts on those players.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic Division:
- Detroit is off to an 0 – 2 start and much of the blame falls on the back end and their struggles to retrieve the puck and begin the transition from defense to offense efficiently, as Ansar Khan writes. Head coach Jeff Blashill after last night’s loss to Florida: “I thought we were second in all those pucks; their second guy beat our second guy almost all night. Part of that is when you play a long time in your end you get tired playing defense and it’s hard to have enough juice for offense. So, we got to be quicker out of our end.” Blashill singles out Mike Green, Jonathan Ericsson and Xavier Oullet as having been “good” through two games. It stands to reason then that his omissions of Danny DeKeyser, Alexey Marchenko and Brendan Smith, who have also each appeared in the Wings’ first two contests, suggests an indictment of their play from the coach. While it’s still very early in the season it’s clear this Red Wings team may well be in jeopardy of snapping their stretch of 25 consecutive playoff appearances.
- Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman learned much about his craft from Detroit’s Ken Holland. And like Holland, Yzerman has been careful when it comes to promoting his team’s prospects. Since taking over in Tampa Bay, not one first-year pro player with AHL eligibility has made the team coming out of camp; that is, as Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports, until Brayden Point. Taking advantage of the training camp absences of Ryan Callahan (injury) and Nikita Kucherov (unsigned RFA), Point earned this opportunity and not only did the 20-year-old forward make his NHL debut, he saw 16 minutes of ice time in the Lightning’s 3 – 2 win over New Jersey, as Smith notes. Smith argues keeping Point after an impressive training camp “sends the right message to the dressing room,” proving to the group that roster spots are earned through performance and not a player’s contract. Time will tell whether Point will keep his spot once Callahan is healthy enough to return but by simply making the team to open the season, he’s already accomplished something Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Kucherov did not.