Rabid Habs

How Marc Bergevin Rebuilt the Canadiens

Marc Bergevin Photo - Lisa Gansky

In the 2011-12 season the Montreal Canadiens finished at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with only 78 points; 28th overall in the 30-team league. In the past 60 years the Canadiens had only finished with a worse result five times.

On May 2nd 2012,  Marc Bergevin was named general manager of the Canadiens, with Rick Dudley to be his assistant. He brought in Scott Mellanby as director of player personnel, Martin Lapointe as a director of player development and Clement Jodoin and Gerard Gallant as assistant coaches. The head coaching job went to Michel Therrien.

Bergevin’s first piece of business was drafting Alex Galchenyuk third overall in the 2012 NHL entry draft. He and his scouting staff went on to pick six more times in that draft. Galchenyuk now has 104 points in the NHL since being drafted three years ago. Another player surprising people from the 2012 draft is Charles Hudon, after his first season playing pro hockey he recorded 57 points in 75 games. He will be fighting for a roster spot come October.

In Bergevin’s first ‘Free Agent Frenzy’ he made a big splash by signing tough guy Brandon Prust to a four-year deal with a cap hit of $2.8 million, he also signed Colby Armstrong to  a one-year one-million dollar deal and brought back Francis Bouillon for one year at $1.5 million. On July 2nd, Bergevin locked up franchise goalie Carey Price in what was the richest deal in team history at the time, a six-year deal with a cap hit of $6.5 million, now considered a huge steal.

In August 2012, Bergevin rewarded Max Pacioretty for scoring a career high (at that point) 33 goals and 65 points with a six-year deal and $4.5-million cap hit; again a huge steal. Bergevin also went on to sign David Desharnais, Alexei Emelin and Peter Budaj to deals.

The first season of the Bergevin and Therrien era went better than expected. The Canadiens won the Atlantic Division, but got blown out in the playoffs by the Ottawa Senators in five games.

At the 2013 NHL draft, Bergevin and staff  chose a total of eight players, of which Jacob De la Rose – drafted 34th overall – has already played 33 regular season games and 12 playoff games in the NHL. Players such as Michael McCarron and Sven Andrighetto will look to fight for a roster spot to open the 2015-16 season.

The biggest free agent signing from Montreal had to be brining in veteran forward Daniel Briere at a 2-year deal. Bergevin also wanted to add some toughness to his blueline, so he added Douglas Murray for 1-year at $1.5 million.

Bergevin knew that the Habs were a serious team in the East and on trade deadline day he made a huge splash acquiring Thomas Vanek from the Islanders. That season the Canadiens made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, losing to the Rangers in six games after an injury took out Carey Price.

At the 2014 draft Bergevin and staff selected six players. Nikita Scherbak, the 26th overall pick, is now looking to make a statement at this year’s training camp. Brett Lernout (73rd overall) has most definitely made a name for himself and the big d-man will likely be on the top pairing in St. John’s next season.

That summer the Habs traded away Danny Briere after a disappointing season. In return they acquired PA Parenteau and a 5th round pick from the Avalanche.They ended up losing Vanek to free agency, signing with the Minnesota Wild. The Habs also signed veteran Manny Malhotra  and Jiri Sekac. But the main deal of the summer was given to PK Subban: an eight-year deal with a cap hit of $9 million per.

Just this past season the Canadiens were a beast in the East. At the deadline Bergevin brought in Jeff Petry from the Oilers, Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn from the Sabres, while shipping out Rene Bourque and Travis Moen, and also moving Sekac in a trade that brought back Devante Smith-Pelly. The Habs went on to pick-up 110 points on 50 wins before getting the boot from the playoffs in a second round loss to Tampa Bay, but look to be developing great as a team.

This off-season has been a good one for Montreal.  Bergevin’s first major move was to buy out PA Parenteau. Now, instead of paying him $4 million for one season, the Canadiens will be paying him $1.33 million for two seasons. Bergevin was also able to re-sign Jeff Petry for six years at $5.5-million per, with Petry expected to play a significant role in the defensive core.

The Habs also re-signed Torrey Mitchell, Brian Flynn, Greg Pateryn, Jarred Tinordi,  Christian Thomas, Michael Bournival and Nathan Beaulieu, while we wait on RFA Alex Galchenyuk’s signing.

The big move so far for Bergevin was trading away fan favourite Brandon Prust in exchange for Zack Kassian and a fifth round pick. This trade could a big steal if Kassian can find some consistency.

Although Marc Bergevin has never made a blockbuster trade, he has completely flipped this team around for the better and is looking to bring the Cup back home. Seems Bergevin may go down as one of the better general managers in Montreal Canadiens history.

Follow me on Twitter @QF25Matt.

2 Comments

  1. Wayne McCrae

    July 18, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Something everyone forgets about 2011-12 season is that Montreal was devistated with injuries that year. Markov, Gionta,Kostistsyn,White, Gill, Moen and so on.

  2. Norm Noel

    July 19, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    MB is doing a great job because he ignores the faux fans and other like minded experts.