The Montreal Canadiens fired general manager Marc Bergevin in November after an awful start to the 2021-22 season.
He had been at the helm of the Habs for nearly a decade and in his last full season with the team, the Canadiens made it to the Stanley Cup Final. But, a 6-15-2 start to this season was the end of Bergevin’s tenure with the team.
The Habs certainly had their ups and downs during Bergevin’s stint. They were in the Cup Final, made the Conference Final in 2014, had great regular season success in the early years, but they also had some of their worst times ever. The 2015-16 season was awful and this season might turn out to be the worst in the Habs history.
With his contract up at the end of this season, team owner Geoff Molson chose to pull the plug early and start to look to the future. He did that by hiring Jeff Gorton to be the team’s executive vice president of hockey operations. Gorton and Molson will now continue their search for the team’s next general manager, though Gorton has really replace Bergevin as the top of the hockey operations department.
Bergevin did some things right, or else the team would not have made a run last year. However, he also made some moves that didn’t work out or are looking like poor long term gambles at this point. Teams don’t just plummet to the bottom of their conference after a run to the Stanley Cup Final without some bad decisions.
Bergevin allowed Phillip Danault, Tomas Tatar and Corey Perry to walk as free agents and he chose not to match an offer sheet for Jesperi Kotkaniemi. The biggest changes have been due to injury, and injuries have kept Shea Weber and Carey Price out of the lineup for this entire season so far, but letting so many key forwards (and Kotkaniemi) leave last offseason depleted the forward group.
But it was not all bad. In the weeks leading up to his departure, Bergevin made a couple of decisions that will help the Canadiens for many, many years down the road.