You know what they say… only fools don’t change their mind. And there’s no bigger fool than yours truly. Yes, I’m still planning on “retiring” from hockey coverage after the season but I find that I still have a lot to say, to share. So I will finish the season as I originally planned. I still won’t watch the game because I get too frustrated by Gary Bettman and his acolytes’ poor decisions. But I will write a few more about my beloved Habs, starting with this one on Marc Bergevin and where he ranks amongst his peers General Managers since hired in the summer of 2012.
As we are well aware, Bergevin finished runner-up to Lou Lamoriello for the Jim Gregory Award, as the General Manager of the year in the NHL. The Award is voted by a 41-member panel that included all 31 general managers, five NHL executives and five media members. So when it’s your own peers voting, it carries a lot more weight (in my opinion) than if it’s based on media bias, like the Norris Trophy, for example.
Bergevin’s nomination is the third one in his nine years as NHL GM that he’s in the Top-3 GMs in the voting! That is an amazing accomplishment as it shows that his nomination is not luck. It is difficult to put that into context unless you compare it to his fellow General Managers. For that reason, I have done the exercise for you. I will tell you that Bergevin is tied with three Top-3 nominations with Anaheim Ducks’ GM Bob Murray, who has been a GM for six more years than the Canadiens’ hockey boss.
|NAME||TIMES TOP-3||TEAM||SEASONS AS NHL GM|
Since 2012, only 20 General Managers finished in the Top-3 in voting for GM of the year. The average experience (in years) of those GMs combined is 15.25 years as NHL GM. Bergevin is finishing his ninth season. Murray is right on the average at 15 years.
Bergevin has found himself at the fat end of the beating stick of some fans and media since the summer of 2016 when he dared trading P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber. Since then, many fans have been preying (and praying) for the firing of the Canadiens’ GM for having the guts to trade away their favourite player. Every single opportunity, they were up in arms, pitch forks and lanterns in hands, on a witch hunt to see him gone.
Yet, people in the NHL have been defending Bergevin, like this outing by Brian Burke, a man who has a little bit of experience in the NHL (insert sarcasm emoji here). Then I happened to look back at an article where I was ridiculed by some NHL fans (Habs’ fans included) when I stated, back in April, that Bergevin would be considered for GM of the year.
You see, Bergevin does make mistakes. Show me a GM who doesn’t and I’ll show you a liar. But the fact remains that most of what he does is good. He cannot lace them up and play (not that he would help much as he’s a better GM than he was a player). He has one year left to his existing contract and rest assured that the disgrutled Habs’ fans still hot over the Subban trade will have to bite the bullet even longer. The odds of seeing Bergevin extended are a lot higher than seeing him fired.
As a matter of fact, don’t be surprised to see him get a promotion. Ideally, I personally would love to see the following:
- Marc Bergevin: President of Hockey Operations and General Manager
- Joël Bouchard: General Manager of the Laval Rocket, Assistant-GM to Marc Bergevin (Larry Carrière’s old position)
- Bergevin: President of Hockey Operations
- Bouchard: General Manager in Montreal
In 2021, Bergevin would help groom Bouchard as Stan Bowman did with Berge himself. Bouchard would be included in decision-making like the Expansion Draft, the NHL Draft and trades at the NHL level. He would make decisions for the Rocket and can use Bergevin as a consultant. The Canadiens have lost a good hockey man in Julien BriseBois. I don’t think they can afford to lose Bouchard too. Go Habs Go!