Marc Bergevin has been accused of many things by his detractors since his arrival in Montreal, one of which is being a GM who excels at getting support players but being unable to pull the trigger on big name players. Those using such rhetorics will have to find another song to sing as once again, Bergevin is stealing the spotlight so far this summer for a second year in a row.
Everyone remembers the Shea Weber acquisition (how can we forget, we are reminded regularly by fans of Subban). Fewer seem to remember that Bergevin signed the biggest Unrestricted Free Agent of the summer last year in Alexander Radulov. This year, he and Steve Yzerman pulled the trigger on a trade equaling the Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen trade as Jonathan Drouin and Mikhail Sergachev change teams of allegiance… and you better believe folks, Bergevin is not done!
On May 12th of this year, we discussed the fact that if Drouin was made available, Bergevin would be all over him. It turns out that he really was available and that he is now a Montreal Canadien, even if Tampa Bay is a division rival. The price to pay was steep, as the Habs had to give up their best prospect in the process in Sergachev. But remember folks, you don’t get gold by trading your garbage. This trade will, in my opinion, be good for both teams as the Jones for Johansen is for Columbus and Nashville.
If you missed it, I strongly encourage you to watch the Canadiens’ post-trade Press Conference. Cool, calm and collected, Drouin looks like a very mature and poised young man who is currently living a dream.
Bergevin is not done
I predicted, back in early April, that Alex Galchenyuk wouldn’t be wearing a Habs’ uniform comes September. The acquisition of Drouin highly increases the chances of that happening as three months later, traditional media are chiming in.
Why do I think that? Because the Canadiens still need a top line centre and a good puck moving defenseman to play key minutes alongside Weber, something no one was able to do over the long haul last year. Bergevin is actively looking for a smooth skating, good decision making puck moving defenseman who can better complement Weber’s smart and physical attributes. As you have to give quality to get quality, and that Max Pacioretty is on a team friendly contract and Carey Price‘s contract extension is only a matter of time, Galchenyuk is the next logical high valued asset to obtain what the Canadiens need.
All eyes are on Bergevin and the Canadiens, and the focus seems to be on Colorado’s Matt Duchene and Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the time being (and rightfully so) but as the GM said himself during the press conference to expect the unexpected while pointing at Drouin. Bob McKenzie, one of the few insiders with genuine connections, is saying that there is something brewing with the Minnessota Wild, who have four good defensemen but who can only protect three.
Jonas Brodin is the prototypical player to have success with a guy like Weber. However, trading Galchenyuk, your best asset, for a defenseman leaves you no ammunition to pull the trigger for a top line centre so if a deal with Minnesota is to be consumed, it might just have to be a bigger deal. The Wild doesn’t have any first or second round picks in the upcoming draft, while the Canadiens have their first, as well as two second rounders. However, they cannot trade the second round pick they received from Washington in the Lars Eller deal as it is a conditional pick in the Drouin deal.
Could a combination of Galchenyuk, Beaulieu (less likely to be picked than Brodin) and a prospect like Mike McCarron or a draft pick bring Brodin and, let’s say, a Mikael Granlund? Let’s keep an eye on that one as McKenzie doesn’t speak or write for no reasons.
As you can see, the Canadiens aren’t done dealing. They have a cap to manage with high salaried Tomas Plekanec and Alexei Emelin as outs if need be, and they have key pending free agents Alexander Radulov and Andrei Markov yet to be re-signed. For what it’s worth, both those guys are on record saying that they want to come back and Bergevin has stated that he wants them back. It would be shocking to me if one of them wasn’t wearing a Habs’ uniform next year.