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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Will Marc Bergevin be the Next GM of the Montreal Canadiens?

So the Stanley Cup playoffs have started, and your Montreal Canadiens are not a part of them.

Does that make you sad? Or, after the season of misery that was, are you just happy to have a reprieve, free to watch hockey without really caring who wins or loses?

There was lots of great hockey last night, as there is sure to be for the next few months. But the big story, on the Habs front, was Nick Kypreos saying the Habs are interested in talking with Luc Robitaille about the GM vacancy.

The move is a little surprising to me but, at the very least, it shows that no stone is being left unturned.

Robitaille aside, it is sounding like Marc Bergevin is the current front runner in the GM race, and he is certainly an interesting candidate.

Here is a look at his bio, from the Blackhawks' site:
http://blackhawks.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=47739

Bergevin's experience running amateur and pro scouting in Chicago and overseeing their player development program, would be a huge asset. Also, as Toronto's Assistant GM, Rick Dudley, said yesterday on TSN 990, he considers Bergevin to be in the top one percent of talent evaluators.

The top one percent.

Now that is one man's opinion, but Dudley is no slouch himself.

Oh and in case you were wondering, yes, Bervegin is fluently bilingual.

Still, Bergevin's experience in hockey ops is limited, having just finished his first year as Assistant GM in Chicago. Also, as Hawks GM, Stan Bowman, said last year, by his own admission, Bergevin is no expert on the cap. He's mostly learning on the job.

Not that this would be the end of the world, since GM's can always hire cap experts. But still, it's something to keep in mind for a guy with aspirations of running the whole show.

Whatever happens, things are sure to get interesting for the Habs between now and the draft. If I was a betting man, I'd say they'll have a GM in place by Mid-May, latest.

This should be an interested few months leading up to the draft for the Habs, to say the least!

---
Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com, Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com and featured columnist on PowerScoutHockey.com. Kamal is also a regular contributor to the Sunday Shinny segment of The Franchise weekend morning show, on TSN Radio 990 (AM 990) every Sunday from 9 - 10 AM. Listen live at http://www.tsn.ca/montreal/

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

15 comments:

While your concern of Bergevin's experience has some merit, isn't this exactly what Habs fans have been begging for for many years? Some fresh blood. An end to the "old boys club".

I think that taking a chance on a young emerging talent is exactly what this organization needs, both at the top and right on down through the players ranks.

A GM with a fresh outlook. A coach with a different approach. (oops, missed the boat on that one!). Star players who are star players NOW not 5 years ago.

I don't know much about Bergevin, but all reports seem to be favourable. And the fact that Molson is speaking to Hextall (can you imagine Hextall as GM and Roy as coach? How long till a public scrap occurs? LOL) and Robitaille, shows me that even old dinosaur Savard (no disrespect intended) has seen the light.

The new look Habs will be fresh, big and talented. I am supremely excited!

@leshabitantssontmagnifique: Well said and you are right! The Habs DO need young, fresh blood. And I think they will end up taking "a chance" on someone who thinks the game in a new way, and not in the way it used to be.

If you look at most of the names that have been mentioned so far, the Habs seem to be fishing in the pond of in the relatively inexperienced. But, like you, I don't think that's a bad thing.

To @BryanWilley's point however, there will likely be GMs available over the next 60 days, as teams are eliminated from the playoffs.

Either way, and despite his lack of experience, I think Bergevin would be an excellent GM in Montreal. Plus, he is a Montreal-native, and absolutely relishes the idea of running the team...

Things are starting to get interesting in Hab-land!

I am not overly impressed with the idea of Brisebois or Bergevin or Loiselle. I want someone in place with star power. Someone with either the credentials or the persona to demand control.

I want to see a guy like McGuire or Dean Lombardi (assuming he's fired) or Jimmy Nil. That is my short list.

@Bryan: I can certainly understand that desire...and, personally, I'd love to see Pierre Mcguire get a shot. Jim Nil, apparently, has nixed any interest in working with the Habs, so he's out.

Out of Brisebois, Bergevin and Loiselle, I think Bergevin presents the best candidate. Brisebois is mostly a numbers guy, and I think player evaluation is a prime skill, sorely needed for the Habs.

@KP

Again I hear what you are saying but think of Bergevin and ask a simple question. What has he done?

He's been the director of player personnel since 2009 and assistant GM in 2011.

So during his tenure with Chicago he has seen his team depart with Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, Troy Brouwer, Brian Campbell, Tomas Kopecky, ben Eager, And Adam Burish who have been replaced with Stahlberg, Brunette, Frolik, Carcillo......

I am sorry but in charge of player personnel and then later the Ass. Gm he has done nothing. The Blackhawks went from a West leading to middle of the pack to barely able to make the playoffs type of team.

This is not the type of experience I want at the helm.

@Bryan: Yep, but to be frank, the cap fiasco in Chicago wasn't caused by Bergevin. Losing Ladd, Byfuglien, Versteeg, etc, etc, wasn't his making. They didn't have much of a choice after totally screwing up a couple of contracts and handcuffing themselves.

The bottom line is, as you pointed out, that all of the names surfacing, so far, are people without NHL GMing experience. But, I feel that is you can find the right guy, that is not the end such a bad thing. But that's just me...

@Kp

No doubt that was a huge factor but the wrong decisions were made. Getting rid of Byfuglien instead of say Bolland or soemone of that nature.

I mean i know there was a big mess but IMO the wrong decisions were made.

I don't think Bergevin was responsible for those problems but he was part of the mess none the less.

@Bryan: It's true Bergevin was part of that mess but, by that same logic, Trevor Timmins should go too...since he was part of the mess that is the current Habs.

I just think that good people can work for crappy organizations but, under the right circumstances/given the opportunity, can turn into superstars.

I don't know that this will or won't be the case for Bergevin but, imo, he possesses some excellent skills that the Habs org badly needs!

@KP I don't think you can compare Timmins. Timmins was in charge of amateur scouting and the draft and he has done an absolutely amazing job. He has no say on pro-scouting or trade decisions which is where it went array.

Imagine if we had McDonaugh and Higgins and Ryder instead of Gomez.

Bergevin was in charge of player personnel and then part of the decision making with trades. His role is much larger in that mess than Timmis IMO.

But like I said he was never the one pulling the trigger so all we know he was saying keep Byfuglien and dump this or that player. Impossible to know really.

@Bryan: Fair enough. Here's hoping Savard, Molson et al, make the right (best?) choice...

Keep Byfuglien over Bolland? A heart and soul guy with a cheaper contract? That's just silly.

Byfuglien wants to be a defenseman. In Chicago, he was a winger. Maybe they should have kept Byfuglien and his giant ego and got rid of that slacker Duncan Keith?

Pfft...

@leshabs

Don't be ridiculous. Keith is arguably their best player apart from Toews. In fact you can argue that Tows, kane, Seabrook and Keith are the only reason they are where they are.

But to compare Buff and Bolland is actually quite interesting.

Byfuglien had a cheaper contract. Even with the screw up he was on a 3 year deal making $3 million per season compared to Bolland and his 5 year $3.375 million contract. So in essence Buff was making $375k less per season.

In the playoffs prior to being dealt Buff was a 1st line winger with the team alongside Kane and Towes and then also played D when needed. Bolland was the 3rd line center.

Bolland did an amazing job as the shut down center but by that same token without Buff and Chicago never wins the cup.

Buff scored 11 goals in that playoff run which was the highest on the team and Bolland scored 8.

If you want to compare regular season, Bolland has only once scored more than 37 points and in that season he scored 47.

Byfuglien has scored more points in almost every season and is now coming off back to back 50+ point seasons. But looking at their careers Buff is a .53 ppg player in the regular season while playing D and Bolland is a .52 ppg player as a forward.

So Buff scores more, was more important in a playoff run and made less money and yet was dealt along with Sopel, Akim Aliu and Eager in exchange for Morin, Reasoner and Joey Crabb.

I respect you don't think it was a mistake but every indication says otherwise and that was a brutal, brutal trade

@Bryan

I will be honest, I did not read to whole thread.

But when you say he got "Carcillo, Bickell, Stalberg", I just want to mention that Viktor Stalberg has been ridiculously good for the Hawks. He has size, skates like the wind and has good hands. Would not hate having him in MTL.

My preference is J Brisebois. He did a good job of assembling a calder team with the 'dogs and his Norfolk team has won something like 24 games in a row. He also understands the cap.I could see him maybe bringing some players from Norfolk to the habs just as tampa signed JT Wyman.

I believe that a talent evaluator like Bergevin would be a great fit, and what about bringing McGuire as assistant GM, lets make the Habs a top heavy team personal, it doesnt hit the salary cap, thats money well spent.
Bob Hartley will be coaching the Habs. Here is my prediction

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