At the halfway mark of the season, Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin spoke to the media of the state of the team, which currently sits at 17-20-4 and is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division. The team is floundering and can’t seem to find its way back into a winning situation and have lost six of their last 10 games. However, Bergevin said the team still is focused on the present.
“Today, we’re in a tough situation, but we haven’t lost hope,” Bergevin said about the state of the team. We haven’t thrown in the towel, but we for sure have a lot of work to do.”
However, after an offseason in which Bergevin signed defenseman Karl Alzner to a five-year, $23.1MM deal, traded for forward Jonathan Drouin, and extended goaltender Carey Price to a new eight-year, $84MM deal, there were hopes the Canadiens would fare even better than last year’s playoff appearance. However, that hasn’t happened. The team allowed long-time defenseman Andrei Markov and center Alexander Radulov to walk and many of his most recent moves haven’t fared as well as others would have hoped. Many have called for the Canadiens to make a change.
“Have I made mistakes? Yes. Have I done some good things? Yes. But that’s the reality for a general manager. But I’m proud of what we’ve done.”
Shockingly despite their poor record, the Canadiens are just six points out of a playoff spot. Granted there are several teams in between them and any possibility of a spot, but the team is hardly out of it.
“I believe [making the playoffs] is possible, but a lot of things have to change,” said Bergevin. “There are times where I’ve seen them capable of doing it.”
- With a team that has struggled immensely on defense, much criticism has fallen on Bergevin for trading top prospect Mikhail Sergachev, the team’s ninth overall pick in 2016, for winger Jonathan Drouin, the third overall pick in 2013. Despite initially being deemed a successful trade for Montreal, Sergachev surprised a few by making the Lightning squad out of training camp and has been tremendous in Tampa Bay, while Drouin has struggled since his arrival, having only totaled five goals, while spending much of his time adjusting to the center position, something he is not used to. “Jonathan Drouin has had some good stretches at center, and he’s had some stretches that have been more difficult. When I say that some players have needed more consistency, he’s a part of that,” Bergevin said.
- Bergevin added that defenseman Victor Mete, who was loaned to Team Canada for the WJC and is expected to return next week, is “probably” going to spend the rest of the season with the Canadiens. The 19-year-old, who shocked everyone by making the team out of training camp has had an on-and-off season so far, but has shown a lot of potential. However, if he is returned to his junior team before he reaches 40 games, the team can delay his eventual free agency by an extra year. “From what I’ve seen of Victor Mete in Buffalo, because I was there, he’s a young player, and he can help us,” Bergevin said. “He’ll probably be here for the rest of the season.”
In order for Montreal to make the playoffs, they have to get at least 57 points in their remaining 41 games. That’s essentially playing .700 hockey from a team that’s played at a .463 clip(Point percentage not win%). This team’s not as terrible as they’ve looked but they are not capable of playing at an elite level for that long.
In my honest opinion, the best approach would be to be sellers and retool. Trade off assets like Benn, Byron, Morrow, Plekanec and Schlemko for picks in the 2nd to 4th round range(though I think Byron might be able to fetch a 1st). Sell off Pacioretty for a package around a young centre or left D and a 1st. Fix the centre and defensive depth issues in the offseason.
I get impression Berg likes to hear himself take and see that mug on camera
team is in the toilet and the GM is delusional. Not a great combo.
Yes….be sellers and retool…but god almighty don’t let Bergevin handle any of it. Clueless.