Montreal Canadiens: Eric Staal Trade Shows Marc Bergevin Won’t Panic

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 general manager Marc Bergevin has said all year that he won’t do much at the trade deadline.

He proved he was misleading the media a little bit when he traded third and fifth round picks to the Buffalo Sabres for Eric Staal.

He did get the Sabres to retain half of Staal’s cap hit, so he only costs as much as a player making $1.6 million on the cap. This gave the Habs the most flexibility possible going forward, but it also proved one more thing about Bergevin.

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We shouldn’t expect the Habs general manager to make any panic moves. There have been plenty of whispers that this could be the last season of Bergevin’s tenure if the Habs aren’t successful or if they flop out early in the first round of the postseason. This could have made Bergevin nervous enough to trade away a top prospect or two and a first round pick in order to secure his job.

However, the Canadiens simply don’t have the cap space to make such a move. We saw the Washington Capitals desperately trade away a star prospect in Filip Forsberg years ago to get Martin Erat for a playoff run. Erat was not good for the Caps in a short stint and Forsberg has been a great goal scorer for close to a decade now.

Somewhat ironically, a panic move from Bergevin to try and save his job could have been the acquisition of Forsberg.

Not that he isn’t still good, it just would have made for some wild cap gymnastics and the extra year on Forsberg’s contract at $6 million would have been a nightmare to try and fit into next year’s payroll.

With Eric Staal in town, even at $1.6 million, it would now be impossible for Bergevin to make a panic move, even if he wanted to do so.

Bergevin has been a patient GM for the past few seasons. He hasn’t traded away a first round pick in his nine years as the team’s GM and it likely won’t happen this year either. He simply doesn’t have the money left to pay someone with a big contract.

I’m not saying Bergevin is definitely done with trades, we could very well see more from him before the trade deadline. However, giving up top prospects and first round picks for a big ticket player is not feasible anymore.

Even if Bergevin wanted to make a short sighted panic move to try and save his job, his team doesn’t have the cap space to make it work.

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Bergevin has been taking small steps forward for the past few years by building through the draft. Don’t expect to see him sell that future for a short term addition.