Montreal Canadiens: What Will Be Marc Bergevin’s Legacy?

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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Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012. Edvard Munch’s The Scream is sold for $119 million dollars in a public auction, Lionel Messi breaks Gerd Müller’s record of goals in a season with 68, and Marc Bergevin is hired as the General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens.

Marc Bergevin had a long career as a defender, reaching the 1,000 game milestone before retiring in 2004. He was drafted by the Blackhawks, and spent time with the Islanders, Whalers, Lightning, Penguins, Red Wings, Canucks and Blues. He never was much on the scoresheet scoring 36 goals and 181 points, but registered 1,090 penalty minutes.

He was alternate captain of the Penguins, Lightning and Blues. But his time as a player might be best known for this play, where he picks up the puck and throws it directly into his own net.

So that is the legacy of Marc Bergevin’s playing career. A little known, if long-lasting defensive defenseman, who scored one of the funniest own goals of all time. His legacy as a General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens is a bit tougher to pin down.

There are different levels of General Manager. There is the Jim Bennings of the hockey world. In the 2020 offseason, Benning traded Nate Schmidt for pennies (as Vegas was gearing up to sign Pietrangelo), signed Brayden Holtby as a free agent, and resigned youngster Jake Virtanen. Just one year later Schmidt plays for the Winnipeg Jets, Holtby and his tortoises moved down south to Dallas, and Virtanen has been jettisoned off to the KHL.

But Bergevin was also not among the league’s elite managers, your Julien BriseBoises and Steve Yzermans. In fact, Bergevin lost a trade to Brisebois, but we will get to that.

So how will Bergevin be remembered? If Montreal was able to overcome the Tampa Bay Lightning, that would undoubtedly be his legacy. Even if the start of this season was the exact same, and Bergevin was still fired, he would still be the man that brought the Stanley Cup back to Montreal, and to Canada, after so long.

In his 9 years, 6 months and 26 days as manager, Bergevin made 99 trades according to CapFriendly. That puts him at 6th in trades made by a general manager. However, he is the 50th on the list of longest tenured managers. To be fair, there are many general managers that CapFriendly does not have the full information on some of these managers, simply because of how long ago it was (for example: Jack Adams [1927-1962], Conn Smythe [1927-1957], Art Ross [1924-1954]).

In that time, Bergevin also drafted 77 players, considerably less than his amount of trades, and handed out 228 contracts, good for $1,115,417,875 total. Its a lot of moves, and means that this team is Bergevin’s team. Or at least Bergevin’s and head of scouting Trevor Timmin’s team (who was also fired). The only players that were not brought in by Bergevin’s regime are Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher, both drafted before Bergevin was hired.