Friday, June 21, 2013

It's Time For Marc Bergevin To Take A Big Step Forward

The conclusion of the 2013 season is upon us as the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins are set to battle one another in a best of three series before a Stanley Cup Champion can be declared.

What I find especially exciting this year however, is that the end of the Cup finals, the 2013 Amateur NHL Draft and Free Agent Frenzy are all set to take place within a 10 day span.

I cannot speak for other fans but for me, this is the most exciting time of the year, with an honorable mention to the Trade Deadline.

This year however has a new twist on the excitement.

Sure we can all access the list of pending Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA’s) but this year; the list of available players is surrounded with mystique and uncertainty courtesy of a little something called the compliance buy-out opportunities.

For those not familiar, the gist of this feature is simple. Teams have the opportunity to buy-out any two contracts on their roster without the cap hit, minus -$500k or so.

Just imaging that a list that once featured top UFA players like David Clarkson, Pascal Dupuis, Ryane Clowe or Douglas Murray will now be bolstered with possible additions like Sheldon Souray, Daniel Briere, Vincent Lecavalier and many more.

How can you not be excited knowing that in just 10 days we still do not know who will be available to sign? I don’t know about you but I am giddy at the thought of adding a guy like Vinny Lecavalier to this mix at a bargain basement price.

So I’ve decided to let the giddiness get the better of me and will play armchair GM for my game plan/wish list from now until July 1st.

Non-compliance buy-out

I am sure we all agree right?

Tomas Kaberle, thank you but not thank you. I hate to see you go but bye-bye. Bought out, we’ll take the $500k cap hit.

Potential Trades

I think that it is more than obvious that given our lack of NHL depth on D, and given the fact that Emelin will be injured for 2-3 months of the season, it is imperative for Marc Bergevin to improve our D-core.

I am also of the belief that here are fairly limited options that are available via UFA status so in my humble opinion we need to make a trade.

I therefore propose the following:

Montreal should trade Raphael Diaz, Travis Moen and our 1st round pick in the 2013 Entry Draft to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Kevin Bieksa

This trade would free up $1.5 million in cap space for the Vancouver Canucks and would provide them with help on the blue line for their PP which finished 22nd in the NHL last season as well as some depth for the 3rd line which was seriously lacking in this playoffs.

For Montreal it solidifies a blue line with a right handed top 4 D-man with 3 years remaining on a contract.

Players to sign:

My number one target would be Eric Nystrom. He guy is big, can play mean, is great defensively and finished the year with a 57.7% rate in the faceoff circle. In other words he’s exactly what we need to compliment Prust and White on a 4th line.

Signing: Three years at $1.5 million per year.

My second singing would be the target of either Bryan Bickell or Ryane Clowe. I know many people are clamoring for Bryan Bickell but he is just not a player that I am convinced with. I see his limited success in the regular season and his typical lack of physicality and I have visions of Fernando Pisani all over again.

So because of that fear I have decided that Ryan Clowe will be my target.

Before everyone gets upset and asks me to take a look at his stats from 2013, I ask you to have faith.

2013 was a bad year for Clowe primarily because of his injuries. He played the year with a bad shoulder which limited his mobility, limited his ability to battle to the front of the net and to ultimately score. Clowe will rebound in a big way in the next few seasons.

The second reason why I have Clowe as my player of choice is because of the physicality. Although they are both 6’4 and 230 lbs., Clowe brings a whole new level of physicality with both his ability to fore-check and hit as well as his ability to drop the gloves.

Bickell for instance has been in the league for four years and has a total of six NHL fights compared to Clowe’s 58 over seven years. So if players have equal production, equal size, are really not that much different in age but one provides an element that we are seriously lacking, then for me the option is simple, Ryane Clowe has to be that guy.

Signing: Four years at $4.25 million per season

My team for the 2013-14 season would look something like:



My Conclusion:

We already know that this team has a lot of potential based on where they finished the season in 2013, what is missing is size, grit, determination and toughness.

It is important that Bergevin maintains the chemistry of this group by keeping the core players intact while complimenting them with size, toughness and character.

I am a firm believer that we do not need to sign a goon but rather acquire a player who can play a regular shift and still provide that element of toughness.


I don't necessarily agree. Size isn't necessarily what we need. Would it help, yes for sure...but it could have the opposite effect if not done right. Look what happened in the playoffs...We tried to play the rough and tumble game and that took us off OUR game and couldn't get it back. Montreal has always been a finesse team - not a rock 'em sock 'em hockey team. We did have a few years where we had size - Larry Robinson - for example - but you know what...all he really did was keep guys at bay.
The coach should have kept the guys on track - it was our speed and accuracy that won all the games, not fighting...if you look at this past season, the games we lost the worst are the ones that the COACH allowed the tempers to get too high.
Hot heads don't win games. Keep your teams' minds on the task at hand - let the other teams get the stupid penalties and play your game.
As for your pics - I think Bickell would be an interesting fit...he's got the same sort of personality as Subban - and the two of them together would create all kinds of havoc on the ice.

I think your Clowe contract is adding Erik Cole all over again. MB pulled a rabbit out of his hat by dealing that contract once, I don't see him having the magic to do it again.

The Bieksa deal is an intriguing option, but MB will probably balk at dealing his 1st round picks due to his belief of drafting to success.

With Emelin gone for a few months, it hurts but we have defensive depth. Signing Drewiske to a very favorable contract is great, he's an ideal 6/7 D-man to flip with Bouillon. We have kids like Tinordi, Beaulieu and Pateryn who gained experience this year and will have another summer and camp to develop. I see one of them breaking with the team next year; my money is on Tinordi.

I'd much rather see who gets amnestied and add a true impact player who may have just had a bad contract, not necessarily no skills, and extend Subban rather than spend the money on a Clowe or Bieksa.

Jeff Shultz wants out of Washington. That's the guy the Habs should go after. He's big, cheap, reliable. Fits in the top 6 somewhere. Maybe pick-up a guy for the 3rd or fourth line to add some depth to the team and that's it. Continue building through the draft, that is how we will win. Big Free agent signing will bring the Canadiens nowhere, although Vinny on a cheap deal would certainly give the Canadiens more options.

Oh ya, and Trade Desharnais.

That is all.


Remove the Habs' first round draft pick and then I might consider the trade. The whole point of a rebuild is to maintain as many draft picks as possible, add depth to our pool of prospects and then make the necessary additions when the team is legitimately a top ten team.
Additionally, the top six looks horrible. Definitely not a core that would strike any fear from top tier teams.
Let Bergevin do his work and carry out his long-term plan. There's a reason he has hired an army of pro scouts. Quick fixes don't build long-term successful teams. Be patient!
A few players I would try to move for either trading up or adding to our stock of picks this year would definitely be Moen, Gorges, Gionta, Desharnais, and Markov. Easier said then done...


I have to admit that I am a firm beleiver that size and skill will always beat out just skill. We went int the playoffs' where 3 of our 4 centers were 6'0 or smaller, 5 of our 6 D-men were 6'0 or smaller and this didn;t account for the small wingers.

Speed is a factor in the regular season, it is a non-factor when it matters most. The whistle gets put away, supposed penalties are now good old hockey plays and big guys frankly get away with murder. We need a bit more guys who can do the same.

Thanks for the feedback my friend


I'd love to trade DD, but it won't happen. He is a bergevin mistake but MB won't eat crow on it. He's on this team for 2-3 years at least, whch is a shame.

As for Schultz, I thought of him. Big guy, but the problem is that we do not need a #5-6 Dman right now. We need a guy capable of filling the shows of our #2.

We need a guy who can help on the PP to allow Bouillon and Gorges to worry about D and a guy who can play big minutes.

My initial thought was to look at Robidas as a short term fix. Is that a better move? Short term yes, but Bieksa provides an element we are surely lacking whereas Schultz, although a huge body, is not an aggressive player.


I agree that patience is the answer but draft picks are not always the answer. Did some reading and discovered that between 25-30% of 2nd round picks actually make it to the NHL for more than 100 games. That % is slightly hire for 1st rounders at closer to 40%.

So is it a great thing to hold onto three 2nd's knowing that 2 of them likely won't amount to anyhting.

My plan is patience as well but in order for your young players like the Gally's or Tinordi to succeed, then they need to be insulated. Guys lke Tinordi need veterans like the Bieksa' of this world to help them progress. If we just go youth, youth youth, then we are going to see a reincarnate of the Islanders or Oilers over the past 5-6 years.

Habs need a top 4 Dman, I think we can all agree on that knowing Emelin is gone for 2-3 months. I just don';t know who is available to fill that need unless it is via trade


I admit I have a huge Hard...well you know for Clowe. He's a player I have long coveted and the fact that he is available for the taking right now has me drooling.

To be honest I hymned and hawd over this. I originally only had the Nystrom signing, i then penciled in Bickell, then Dupuis, then thought well; maybe Lecavalier could be signed. Maybe Malone. I just went back and forth but in the end I said you know what, I just want Clowe on my team.

I admit it is a huge risk, it may come back to bite us in the ass but the cap will go up after this coming season and we have a ton of skilled players coming who will all be cheap. It's a potential mistake that we can recover from and in the interim he fills a huge need for the club.

I still think Vinny Lecavalier could have his career rejuvenated in Montreal at a decent price and trade Gionta or Desharnais for a solid d men. We dont need to worry about a PP d man we have Subban and Markov we need a stay at home physical d man. I also think we should draft Jordan Subban with the early 2nd round pick for the future. To have the 25th 34th and 36th pick they are basically the same with the talent pool that far down. My point is unless someone slips down in the draft aka Max Domi I would consider trading it if possible to help get a d man or other draft picks next year or perhaps multiple second round picks this year and next year. Those are my thoughts and I want to thank to be able to have discussions like these the bottom line we all love the Habs

I heard today that MB has no intentions of building his team threw free agency. Maybe if something came along at a good price but he's not gonna spend like its Christmas.. lol I know he's small but Briere has scored some really big goals in his career. If we could get him at a good price I would do it. Other then that I'm looking forward to the draft.. In MB I trust!!! Go Habs!!! :)

I hope to god you never become the Montreal GM. Your trades sound a lot like the Gainey/Gauthier style of thinking than I care for. Marc B will stay the course and be a smart GM and give Tinordi his(well deserved) chance, draft a good young player(forward hopefully) and help the team to move on.

I started to like what you posted until you stated trade Raphael Diaz, Travis Moen and our 1st round pick in the 2013 Entry Draft to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Kevin Bieksa, that would be a really bad move. First of all we’re in a rebuilding mode of years one. When you’re in a build mode you stock pile prospects with your draft picks and hopefully you’re able to put together a winning formula. Making a trade like that one you mention will push a franchise back. BE PATIENT!
We’ll have young Defensemen coming up through the farm in the next year or two maybe with the name of Jared Tinordi Greg Pateryn Nathan Beaulieu, Darren Dietz, and maybe Morgan Ellis, Magnus Nygren. We need to get bigger and we very small on Center and right wing those are area the habs need to focus on the draft. I thinks this draft they can’t not screw up they need to find a couple of good gems. I have not problem if the habs want to sign Bryan Bickell or Ryane Clowe as long it’s nothing crazy. As for signing Eric Nystrom I’m ok with it I like him he tough.

Sorry Ken disagree with you 100%. Size and skill is exactly what we need. The Habs of the 70's had both and that is why they were so successful. In the 70's and 80's the habs were never pushed around. I am so sick and tired of seeing my beloved habs used as punching bags. It is time management changed this.I am not advocating what the "lafs" did but the habs need some muscle to protect the team from being used as punching bags by the rest of the league. The whole league laughs at us because they know man to man we do not stand a chance. Now I know Konopka is a little wild like White; but he is excellent in the face off circle and does not get pushed around; what are your thoughts on him

A Byska type Dman is exactly what we need. 2nd pairing, big, gritty and espeuially rigt haned. He has 3 year left on his contract which is excellent too. We are loaded on the left side and I'd like to see Emelin go back to the left side sonner than later. Everybody but Subban, Emelin, Tinordi and Beailieu should be made avaialble

2 years down the road
Emelin / Subban
Beaulieu / Bieksa
Tinordi / Pateryn-Ellis-Nygren

Clowe i believe is damaged goods
Briere is completely the last thing e need

BTW Bergervin did 3 mistakes
DD (terrible mistake. shoyld have waited after the playoffs before offering him a dime), Moen, Boullion


Thanks for the read.
I should point out that I am not usually a trigger happy person. I like keeping picks, love the draft however I asked myself a simple question.

Habs took a big step this year with their youth and their team. Going into next season we have a huge hole on D with loss of Emelin and have absolutely nobody to replace him.

Yes we have Tinordi, Beaulieu, Dietz, Thrower, Ellis, Pateryn, Nygren, Bennett who are coming, but who among them is capable of top 4 minutes this year?

Unless tat hole is filled then we are going to see a major step backwards and with so much talent on the horizon, I asked myself a simple question. Can we survive with the loss of one 1st round pick?

With three 2nd's I think the answer is yes.


I know Briere is among the league leaders over the past couple of season in playoff points but no way. Desharnais, Gallagher, Briere, Gionta, Plekanec all in top 6 or 7 forwards.

Unless we face 10-12 minutes a game n PP time then this is a recipe for disaster.

I would however openly acquire Briere if it meant the departure of DD or Gionta.


We do not need PP help on our first unit but when we throw out Gorges and Bouillon on the 2nd unit then we know we have issues.

Subban would be a decent pick up but I believe he is rather small. Talented as all heck, but small none the less.

Secondly, once Thrower,Bennet, Nygren are here then you mus wonder how far down the depth chart Subban would be

@ anon (last one)

I would agree with those 3 mistakes. The Moen one is the least of those evils I would say with dd taking the cake.
I don't think he is going to have another really bad season but knowing you have Eller, Galchenyuk and Pleks leaves you scratching yuor head.

I have been an advocate for DD on RW in a move similar to how St.Louis changed positions. Leave the heavy lifting on D to Eller, Pleks and Galchenyuk and allow DD to focus on scoring.

Trading this years 1st round draft pick would be the worst thing Marc Bergevin could do! I'm a 2nd year scout in the QMJHL and this is definitely not the draft you want to give any draft picks. Maybe trade next years but absolutely no draft pics this year should be traded, in fact Bergevin should be trading for draft picks or to move up.

i like Vinny L if they can get him rather cheap after a buy out from Tampa. He could be that veteran forward, rejuvenate his carrer. Put him on the 2nd , 3rd line centre.

@Habsrule....if Vinny is signed then we will definitely need to make a move. Pleks, Galchenyuk, Desharnais, Eller, lecavalier......wonder if we'll see some really shake up this year.

Holy fuck what kind of non-sense is this?

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