Montreal Canadiens: All That Marc Bergevin Touches Turns To Gold

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) /

Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson was heavily criticized for not spending to the salary cap for the past three seasons. The Habs were rumoured to be in on, but ultimately missed out on Matt Duchene, John Tavares, and Alex Radulov among others in the past few years.

Fans were tired of hearing players “almost” signed with the Habs and started to question whether the Habs were ever that close to acquiring a star player or if they just made it sound like they were so fans wouldn’t question the fact they weren’t spending anywhere near the cap.

Then, came this past offseason.

In the middle of a global pandemic where businesses are suffering all over the world, it would have been easier than ever for Molson to not allow general manager Marc Bergevin to spend to the cap. However, he did the exact opposite. Bergevin acquired players at every position and added tremendous depth to the roster.

I guess being in the business of selling beer wasn’t the worst place to be when everyone is stuck at home for months.

So, Molson gave Bergevin the green light to spend and he was one of the busiest GMs in the league during the offseason.

The early results of his shopping spree are in and basically every single decision would be graded an A+ today.

The first thing Bergevin did in the offseason was shore up the goaltending by acquiring Jake Allen. He gave up a third round pick to the St. Louis Blues for Allen, who lost his striating job to Jordan Binnington. (He took the job back in the postseason, but the Blues needed to move out money so they kept Binnington.)

Allen has played just two games so far, but he has shown he can be trusted to give Carey Price adequate rest during the season. He was excellent in his first game, stopping 25 of 26 shots in a 4-1 over the Edmonton Oilers. He then allowed three in a blowout victory over the Vancouver Canucks, securing regulation wins in both of his outings.

Bergevin’s next move was to trade for pending free agent Joel Edmundson and then sign him to a four-year contract. Edmundson looked a little shaky in his first game, making a few mistakes, but without the benefit of preseason games that was bound to happen. He was much better in his second game and has continued to play well on a second pairing with Jeff Petry since then. He is a huge, physical defenceman whose skating is good enough to keep him out of trouble.

Bergevin then made his most controversial move of the offseason as he dealt Max Domi and a third round pick for Josh Anderson. Bergevin was criticized because Anderson had just one goal in 26 games last season, but after just one game with the Canadiens he changed the perception of the deal.

Anderson showed his terrific speed and ability to put the puck in the net on opening night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He now has three goals and four points in six games, but brings a dimension of size mixed with speed that is rare and the Habs were completely devoid of for years.

Early in free agency, Bergevin signed Tyler Toffoli to a four-year contract that comes with a $4.25 million cap hit. The right winger has fit in well on the top power play and third line with Jesperi Kotkaniemi, already scoring five goals and eight points in his first six games with the Canadiens.

Late in the offseason, Bergevin added a little more depth by signing Corey Perry. He’d been on the sidelines for the first five games of the season, but when Joel Armia was injured, Perry stepped in, played well, created a few chances for his teammates and scored a goal.

It is a little early to give credit for what happened at the 2020 NHL Draft, but the Habs first round pick, Kaiden Guhle, looked solid at the World Juniors in a depth role as an 18 year old. Luke Tuch, taken in the second round, has been playing great hockey at Boston University. Fourth round pick Sean Farrell is one of the top scorers in USA’s top Junior league and fifth round pick Jakub Dobes is the best goaltender in the USHL.

Habs were set up for slow start, but are flying high. dark. Next

It’s a little early to declare success at the 2020 NHL Draft, but if the results are anywhere near as good as the rest of Bergevin’s work in the 2020 offseason, it will turn out to be nothing short of an excellent class.