Montreal Canadiens Rumour: Habs Talking With Jeff Gorton About Managerial Role

SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY - JULY 23: Jeff Gorton (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY - JULY 23: Jeff Gorton (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens are about to step on the ice to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins this evening, but the biggest storyline might be taking place off the ice.

We all know the Canadiens are off to a terrible start. In fact, they have never gotten off to a worse start over the first 22 games of a season. Their 5-15-2 record puts them ever so slightly ahead of the Ottawa Senators and Arizona Coyotes for the last spot in the NHL standings.

Usually, when a team is this bad it means change is coming. And it sounds like the Habs are thinking about shaking things up at the managerial level.

According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the Canadiens are in talks with former New York Rangers and Boston Bruins general manager Jeff Gorton. Gorton was recently let go by the Rangers and is currently working as an analyst for the NHL Network. Friedman also mentioned it doesn’t sound like it is for the general manager position in Montreal.

It sounds odd that the Canadiens need permission to talk to a fired general manager, but Gorton is still being paid by the Rangers so the Habs do, in fact, need to ask permission before talking to him.

Though Gorton is not with the Rangers any longer, he completely built the team that is currently 13-4-3 in the Metropolitan Division standings. Gorton put the team through a quick rebuild when he traded veterans like Rick Nash, Derick Brassard, Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, JT Miller, Brady Skjei and Kevin Hayes for a bevy of first round picks and prospects.

Now, with a little lottery luck, they also added Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere at the top of the draft, but they aren’t carrying this dangerous team right now. Gorton acquisitions like Artemi Panarin (signed as a free agent), Ryan Strome (acquired for Ryan Spooner), Adam Fox (acquired for two second round picks), and Mika Zibanejad (acquired for Brassard) are carrying the team right now.

Gorton was very briefly the general manager in Boston, as he just filled in on an interim basis for four months. It was a crucial time of the year for a general manager though as Gorton ran an NHL Draft and a free agency period for the Bruins. In that one draft the Bruins selected Phil Kessel, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand while trading Andrew Raycroft for Tuukka Rask. He also signed Marc Savard and Zdeno Chara in free agency.

Then, he handed the job back to Peter Chiarelli and watched him get all the credit for the Bruins winning the Stanley Cup five years later.

History is repeating itself as he was forced out of New York so Chris Drury could take over the general manager duties. Once again, the team Gorton was in charge of is having a great season and is in fantastic shape for the long term.

The Montreal Canadiens are wise to be interested in bringing him to town. The interesting piece is that it is not as general manager. Could the Canadiens be looking to hire a President of Hockey Operations? Or would Gorton be taking over the amateur scouting and spelling the end of the Trevor Timmins era in Montreal?

It is difficult to say at this point, but bringing Gorton in to the team in any capacity would bode well for the future of the Canadiens.