Some hate his guts, find him to be arrogant and won’t be satisfied – temporarily anyway – until he’s fired. Others see in him a quick learner, someone who has already mastered some aspects of the job of General Manager in the NHL. Either way, Marc Bergevin is a guy who had no previous experience as a GM and jumped right into the hotbed that is Montreal, learning on the fly. He has shown to be able to handle the Montreal media and unusually tough market. He is full of confidence in himself and it has often been reported that he’s one of the hardest working GMs in the league. Brian Burke qualified him as one of the best talent evaluators he’s gotten to see in his time around the league.
Bergevin is not afraid of pulling the trigger on big trades. And from looking at his record, it’s hard to imagine that he will stop making them! But it’s not only his trades that people around the NHL are noticing. He has turned around the Montreal Canadiens with a timely and well orchestrated reset, and he is now ready to make a push… or so it seems.
Few GMs in the NHL are as successful in trades as Bergevin has been. He’s not afraid of pulling the trigger on big trades and force is to admit that he’s done extremely well with those.
|* 2nd Round Pick|
|MAX PACIORETTY||172||72||68||140||0.81||+16||** $6.17M|
** Vegas kept $500,000 of Tatar’s salary
|* ALEX GALCHENYUK||131||27||38||65||0.50||-24||$4.9M|
|2nd Round Pick (ALEXANDER ROMANOV)|
|DALE WEISE (pending UFA)||15||0||1||1||+4|
|TOMAS FLEISCHMANN (pending UFA)||19||4||1||5||-7|
|2nd and 4th round picks|
Notable: Brent Kulak for Rinat Valev and Matt Taormina
The one blemish on his record when it comes to big trades, might be having traded Mikhail Sergachev for Jonathan Drouin. The Canadiens’ forward has been terribly inconsistent and has battled injuries since being acquired by Bergevin. This has visibly affected his development and, ultimately, his production. But when you have an overall trade record like that, one trade you don’t win hands-down isn’t too bad, is it?
Bergevin’s most recent trade, Eric Staal, played his first game against the Edmonton Oilers and scored the game winning goal in overtime. The Canadiens gave Buffalo a 3rd and 5th round pick for Staal and the Sabres are eating half of the big centre’s salary.
Some of Bergevin’s assets management has been outstanding. He seems to get players at a certain price and up their value to get more. Here are a few examples:
Acquired Joel Armia, Steve Mason (bought out), a 7th round pick (Kieran Ruscheinski) and 4th round pick (Jack Smith) from the Winnipeg Jets for Simon Bourque. This was done to help the Jets clear some much needed cap space but value-wise, it’s outstanding for the Habs.
Bergevin signed UFA Ilya Kovalchuk for $700,000 and then traded him for a third round pick. That was pretty good, especially the salary, but what he did after is even better. He traded that third round pick to the St. Louis Blues to acquire goaltender Jake Allen.
He traded for Marco Scandella for a 4th round pick. A few weeks later, he traded Scandella for a 2nd and a 4th round pick. Same player here folks, just weeks apart!
Just this past off-season, Bergevin signed:
Josh Anderson ($5.5M cap hit until 2026-27): Anderson is the power forward the team needed so much. He has this rare combination of size, physicality, speed, lethal shot, offensive awareness, and defensive responsibility all in one player, and he will drop the glove if or when needed.
Joel Edmundson ($3.5M cap hit until 2023-24): Edmundson has transformed Jeff Petry into a Norris Trophy candidate. That’s how much he is the perfect partner for the more mobile and offensive-minded Petry. The big, bruising defenseman leads the NHL in plus-minus at +30, six ahead of the next player!
Tyler Toffoli ($4.25M cap hit until 2023-24): What can we say about Toffoli that hasn’t been said or written already? His 19 goals put him in sixth place in the entire NHL and he’s second in goals per games played, trailing only Auston Matthews. All of that for just over $4 million.
Corey Perry (1 year – $750,000): Perry is a very pleasant surprise. Many people were thinking that he would be spending most of his time on the Taxi Squad, but the 6-foot 3-inches and 206 lbs winger forced the Canadiens’ hand to keep him in the line-up. The veteran has seven goals and 14 points in 28 games, while not even playing 13 minutes a game.
Michael Frolik (1 year – $750,000): Frolik has only played two games so far for the Canadiens but he was solid. The 33 year old provides quality depth and his 862 regular season’s games bring experience in case of injuries. With the Canadiens playing every second day until the end of the season, he will likely see more action in the next little while.
While not this off-season, Bergevin had signed KHL’s prospect Alexander Romanov who, after practicing with the team in the playoffs’ bubble, has made the team as a regular this his rookie season.
GM of the year candidate
With a credential like that, one would be hard pressed to convince me that Bergevin doesn’t deserve to be a serious candidate for GM of the year. He did all of this while replenishing the cupboards of quality prospects and revamping the team’s scouting and player development. Cole Caufield was recently signed and will be playing soon for the Laval Rocket, the Canadiens’ farm team. And if we believe play-by-play Anthony Marcotte, he won’t be spending much time in the AHL. The future is bright in Montreal and while some of the credit goes to team President Geoff Molson when he supported his GM’s new plan back in 2018, Bergevin followed through with his promise. Go Habs Go!