Marc Bergevin Approaching the Deadline Aggressively

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By J.D. Lagrange, Senior Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

SuperBergevin

The NHL trade deadline is always an exciting time for hockey fans and often, whether their team is in a position to make the playoffs or not. This is when teams try to load up for a playoff run or unload some salary in order to prepare for next season.  In a league with a salary cap where trading has become more and more complex, this is when general managers often make or break their career.

PENTICTON, BC. – Marc Bergevin is no different and he has shown, in his short time in this prestigious position, that he likes to move early and try to improve his team. We will remember that two years ago, he traded Erik Cole to the Dallas Stars for Michael Ryder and just last year, he sent defenseman Raphael Diaz packing to Vancouver in exchange for rugged winger Dale Weise.

While few rumour insiders can be trusted, TSN’s analysts Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie, to Pierre LeBrun have reported that Bergevin is being particularly aggressive so far, trying to land a top-six winger and a top-four defenseman. According to them, the Canadiens’ GM has been in discussions with many clubs and a deal might be imminent. It was even reported that Toronto Maple Leafs’ GM, Dave Nonis, has called the Habs’ GM, inquiring about primarily Michael Bournival but also young Christian Thomas, son of former Leafs winger Steve Thomas.

But instead of jumping into the rumour mill, let’s take a few steps back and try to determine who or what the Canadiens might be looking for, who might be available that could help Bergevin’s team go further in the playoffs.

As usual, teams will try unloading their pending unrestricted free agents (UFA) and in doing so, hope to create some bidding war between two or more teams. Sellers start high, asking for the most part for a blue-chip prospect and/or a first round pick for a few months of service of a veteran player and in the past, some teams have managed to get just that. For that reason, it’s no surprise to hear teams wanting similar return for their pending UFAs but as the trade deadline of March 2nd approaches and deals start to happen, the pressure will switch on them to free up salary and get something instead of nothing for guys they won’t re-sign anyway.

Bergevin has shown, in his short time as the Habs’ GM, that he doesn’t get rid of his draft picks, especially not his first round pick. He has said many times that in order for a team to remain competitive in today’s NHL, it must develop its own players and that’s why he secured Trevor Timmins, one of the best in the business, and provides him a chance to draft every summer.

Here is a list of some of the pending UFAs this summer, starting with the forwards who can play on the right wing:

ForwardsUFA

Many Habs’ fans have been wanting to see Jaromir Jagr on a line with his countryman and Olympic linemate and good friend, Tomas Plekanec and that, for a long time. Could this be the one time they were hoping for? Allow me to doubt it. Jagr does not fit the quick transition, speed game that the Canadiens are practicing and while he would definitely help on the power-play, Jagr is likely not very high on Bergevin’s list.

In my humble opinion, my choices in order would be:

  1. Joel Ward
  2. Chris Stewart
  3. Jiri Tlusty

I believe that up until the playoffs, Marc Bergevin had every intention in re-signing Thomas Vanek but when he disappeared in the playoffs, the Habs’ GM changed his mind and chose to let him go. At 27 years old, Stewart or Tlusty would have a chance to re-sign with the team depending on their play.

On defense, top-four quality defenders are expensive to get and teams know it. Here is the list of pending UFA defensemen:

DefenseUFA

Rumours have tied Cody Franson and Jeff Petry to Montreal and watching both play, they would definitely be a pretty good fit. If Dave Nonis has called Bergevin as it was reported, Cody Franson is most likely the name mentioned to support P.K. Subban. As a matter of fact, a deal was in place sending Franson to Montreal for Josh Gorges before the Habs’ player nipped the trade by using the no-trade clause before being shipped to Buffalo.

Plan B should be Senators’ defenseman Marc Methot, a player who plays with an edge, one that can log quality minutes every game. Methot returned in February from an injury which limited him to only 16 games this season, so he is fresh and ready for a long playoffs’ push.

A plan C which cannot be underestimated is Arizona Coyotes’ veteran Zbynek Michalek, a highly underrated and relatively unknown steady defenseman. And this plan C could very well turn into plan A if Marc Bergevin has his way, at least according to the insiders mentioned above in this article.

It is believed that the Habs’ GM is very, very interested in center Antoine Vermette of the Coyotes, not just for the rest of this season but in hope to sign him to a contract extension. This would likely mean the end of either David Desharnais or Lars Eller in Montreal and rumour has it that Eller’s name, as well as Alexei Emelin’s, are being offered around the league.

VermetteUFA

Could there be something worked out between the Coyotes and the Canadiens which would bring both Michalek and Vermette to Montreal? Oh I’m not suggesting by any means that Bergevin would trade Eller and Emelin for those two straight across, not one bit. Many talks fall through and few materialize but I wouldn’t put it past Marc Bergevin to make not one, but two trades to improve his team.

Go Habs Go!

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J.D. Lagrange
J.D. is a Senior writer for All Habs as well as Associate-Editor for the French version Le Magazine All Habs, while one of three Administrators of the fan forum Les Fantômes du Forum. He has created the handle Habsterix as a fictional character for the sole purpose of the internet. It is based on the cartoon Asterix of Gaule and his magic potion is his passion for the Montreal Canadiens. How old is he? His close friends will tell you that he’s so old, his back goes out more than he does! He was born when Béliveau lifted the Cup and remembers the days when seeing the Habs winning was not a wish, it was an expectation. For him, writing is a hobby, not a profession. Having moved to beautiful British Columbia in 1992 from his home town of Sherbrooke, Quebec, he started writing mostly in French to keep up his grammar, until non-bilingual BC friends pushed him into starting his own English Blog. His wife will say that he can be stubborn, but she will be the first to recognise that he has great sense of humour. He is always happy to share with you readers his point of views on different topics, and while it is expected that people won’t always agree, respect of opinions and of others is his mission statement. || J.D. est Rédacteur-Adjoint sur Le Magazine All Habs et il est un Rédacteur Principal sur le site anglophone All Habs, tout en étant un des trois Administrateurs du forum de discussion Les Fantômes du Forum. Il a créé le pseudonyme Habstérix comme caractère fictif pour l’internet. Celui-ci est basé sur Astérix de Gaule et sa potion magique est sa passion pour les Canadiens de Montréal. Lorsqu’il est né, Jean Béliveau soulevait la Coupe Stanley et il se rappelle des jours où gagner n’était pas un espoir, mais une attente. Pour lui, écrire est un passe-temps, pas une profession. Ayant déménagé dans la superbe Colombie-Britannique en 1992 en provenance de sa ville natale de Sherbrooke, Québec, il a commencé à écrire en français pour garder sa grammaire, jusqu’à ce que ses amis anglophones ne réussissent à le convaincre d’avoir son blog en anglais. Son épouse vous dira qu’il est têtu, mais elle sera la première à reconnaître son grand sens de l’humour. Il est toujours fier de partager avec vous, lecteurs et lectrices, ses points de vue sur différents sujets, et quoi que les gens ne s’entendent pas toujours sur ceux-ci, le respect des opinions et des autres est son énoncé de mission.

1 COMMENT

  1. Yes to Cody but they have a strong D now. And Tinardi is ready.
    So we should go for a proven clutch scorer in Justin Williams

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