Montreal Canadiens: Analyzing Marc Bergevin’s “Reset”

MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 07: Montreal Canadiens Marc Bergevin (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 07: Montreal Canadiens Marc Bergevin (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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The Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin infamously stated the team was doing a “reset” in the summer of 2018. How is that going?

The Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has been at the helm of the Habs for the past eight years. He took over from Pierre Gauthier after a tumultuous season saw the team trade for a rapidly aging Tomas Kaberle on a poor contract, deal Mike Cammalleri away in the middle of a game, hire an English speaking head coach and publicly state he was a placeholder among other interesting ideas.

That was all off the ice. The on ice product was even worse as they fell far enough to get the third overall pick. They took Alex Galchenyuk with that pick and thought they had acquired a future first line centre (but there will be more on him later.)

Fast forward six years and the Canadiens entered the offseason early and secured the third overall pick once again. There were a few glimpses of hope in the interim, including a trip to the Eastern Conference Final and a Hart Trophy and Vezina Trophy for Carey Price. But, there the Habs were with a third overall selection in their hands after a failed season once again.

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This was when Bergevin  publicly stated the team was going through a “reset.” Not a full blown rebuild that would see veterans like Price and Shea Weber leaving town. Just a reset that would start things fresh.

With the Habs about to miss the playoffs for the third straight year, it got me thinking about what the “reset” really meant two years ago. Why use the word reset instead of rebuild or retool or reconstruction?

Maybe, just maybe it was a word that Bergevin and owner Geoff Molson used in their own conversations. Is it possible that Molson and Bergevin agreed to slightly change the direction they were headed and termed it a reset for Bergevin’s job security?

The team was in need of a new direction. They had missed their target of the postseason by a wider margin than a Bryan McCabe slapshot missed the net. When they made the playoffs a year earlier, they had acquired Steve Ott, Dwight King and Andreas Martinsen at the trade deadline to bolster their lineup. Then they lost in the first round because they couldn’t score enough.

Then, in that summer of 2017, Andrei Markov and Alex Radulov left as free agents. Bergevin brought in Karl Alzner, Mark Streit and Ales Hemsky among others to fill the void. In retrospect, it’s not hard to believe they missed the playoffs in 2018.