Montreal Canadiens: 5 Takeaways from Marc Bergevin’s Interview

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin. Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

On TSN 690 today, Montreal Canadiens General Manager was asked important questions regarding the Habs current season, and the future. Bergevin touched on issues such as trade possibilities and the Expansion Draft.

Currently, the Montreal Canadiens are a top the Atlantic Division Standings. The Habs started the season off on fire, but then have recently been plagued by many injuries. The Canadiens have managed the injury situation well, and as a result are still primed for a Playoff run this season.

However, there are many issues that still surround the team moving forward. There have been various trade rumors that have recently popped up, and they involve key players, like Tomas Plekanec. The Habs could be set to part ways their long time Center.

Also some players have either out preformed their current contracts, or are becoming unrestricted free agents. One particular player is Alexander Radulov. Energy, passion, and skill is what comes to mind when thinking of Radulov, and he would no doubt be the top free agent on the market this season.

Another issue that many are concerned with regarding the Canadiens is what future does Michael McCarron have with the Habs? McCarron has now spent parts of two seasons bouncing between the St Johns Ice Caps, and the Montreal Canadiens.

Marc Bergevin talked about all of these issues today in an interview on TSN 690. The interview was great and is definitely worth listening too. However, there were five main points of interest and here are five takeaways from the interview.

Montreal Canadiens

Feb 26, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Nathan Beaulieu (28) against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Canadiens 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Examining Marc Bergevin’s thoughts on the up coming Expansion Draft, and how it will impact the Canadiens.

Marc Bergevin hinted that the Expension Draft will impact what the Montreal Canadiens do in the future. Whether that is before the trade deadline or not, the Habs will some tough choices to make moving forward. The Habs have a solid top four on Defense and the Canadiens may have to make a decision on which player to move.

Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Nathan Beaulieu and Alexei Emelin have all given the Habs solid performance this season. All of them are or have shown the potential they can handle top four minutes. Nathan Beaulieu has the most potential out of the four, but he has played the least, and ceased a larger role.

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However, Emelin has arguably been the biggest surprise for the Habs this season. Emelin has played the majority of the season with Shea Weber on the Habs top pairing, and has played a ton of minutes.

As a result, the Habs could decide to keep Emelin, and trade Beaulieu for some type of asset in return. Colorado has been looking for a young defender, and maybe Beaulieu could be part of a package for Forward Matt Duchene. It will be interesting to see how the Canadiens handle this situation moving forward.

The safe bet though is that the Canadiens will find a way to hang on Beaulieu. Vegas would surely love to add a young puck moving defender, who has a ton of potential.

Montreal Canadiens

Jan 7, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Michael McCarron (34) celebrates with team mates after scoring against Toronto Maple Leafs in the third period of a 5-3 win at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Marc Bergevin’s thoughts on Michael McCarron’s future, and potential with the Montreal Canadiens.

Marc Bergevin clearly likes the way Michael McCarron is developing in the Habs organization. However, the Canadiens recently decided to send down the young center to the St Johns Ice Caps, Montreal’s AHL affiliate roster. Bergevin was asked about McCarron situation, and how he could improve.

Bergevin first commended the way McCarron has progressed through the last few years. He likes that McCarron has learned to be more proficient in the face-off circle. Also, Bergevin likes how physical, and dominate McCarron is along the boards.

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However, Bergevin feels that if there is one area of his game that needs improvement, it’s being quicker. In particular, a quicker first few strides. The NHL is full of speedy players, and McCarron isn’t the fastest player.

Bergevin does feel that McCarron will be a permanent part of the Canadiens, but he just needs to find a specific role. Marc added that he wants McCarron playing a lot of minutes, and that’s why he was sent back to the Ice Caps.

This is definitely reassuring to hear, because McCarron clearly fills the Habs need for a big Center. McCarron may never become a top line Center, but he could be a warhorse in the bottom nine forwards on the team. Michael McCarron looks built to play in the NHL Playoffs, and should be a part of the Habs for many years to come.

Montreal Canadiens

Jan 7, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Alexander Radulov (47) stick handles the puck past Toronto Maple Leafs forward Connor Brown (12) in the third period at Air Canada Centre. The Canadiens won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Marc Bergevin on Radulov’s performance this season, and a possible contract extension.

Marc Bergevin rolled the dice this past off-season when he signed forward Alexander Radulov to a one year contract. However, Radulov has rewarded Bergevin’s calculated risk, and Radulov has been the best free agent signing of the year. The question now becomes, will Radulov get a contract extension with the Canadiens?

Bergevin didn’t get into specific’s surrounding the situation, but rather expressed how valuable Radulov has been. He talked about how much of an impact he has made, and what qualities he brings to the team.

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Bergevin acknowledged that other teams have noticed how successful Radulov has been, and that they wish they could have signed him. However, if that’s the case what will Radulov’s market be after the season if he were to hit the open market? He’ll probably be the top name on the market.

The Habs could wait until after the Expansion Draft to resign him. If the Habs come to an agreement in principle, or by word with Radulov, they wouldn’t have designate him on their expansion list of keepers. The Habs could later resign Radulov after the expansion draft.

However, even if the Habs were to sign Radulov now, it would also makes sense. The Canadiens should be aggressive to resign Radulov, as he has clearly earned a deal. Radulov has played brilliantly, and should be rewarded for his hard work.

Dec 28, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Montreal Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec (14) against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 28, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Montreal Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec (14) against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Marc Bergevin’s comments on the trade rumor situation involving Tomas Plekanec.

Recently, Forward Tomas Plekanec has been rumored to be on the trade market. Plekanec has struggled to create offense for the majority of the season, and he also carries a 6 million dollar cap hit this season, and next year as well. Bergevin was asked about the struggling forward.

Marc answered the question without drawing any attention to a trade, and he commended Pleky for his defensive efforts. He stated that Plekanec was one of the Habs best defensive Forwards, and that he’s a great player without the puck. Bergevin also expressed that Plekanec could be better down low, and it would be nice if he could find his offensive game.

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Rumors Weren’t Dismissed

However, what stood out, is that he didn’t go out of his way to dismiss any trade rumors, or shut down that idea. Bergevin wasn’t asked specifically about a Plekanec “trade,” but that rumor has been floating out there for a couple of weeks. Marc could have taken the opportunity to squash it, but chose not to.

The situation has a similar feel to the Subban trade rumors. Bergevin would never commit to saying that he would, or wouldn’t trade Subban, and instead he would say, or imply that he would try to make the team better. The difference though, is that Plekanec isn’t the same high profile player that Subban is.

With the trade deadline approaching, and the Expansion draft looming in June, the Habs could look to remove Plekanec’s high cap hit off the books. Plekanec would have to be packaged into some of type of deal where a team could afford to take on a high cap hit for a year. Hint… hint… maybe Colorado?

Montreal Canadiens

Jan 12, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Montreal Canadiens forward Phillip Danault (24) takes the faceoff in the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Minnesota Wild beat the Montreal Canadiens 7-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Bergevin gives some high praise for the third, and fourth lines on the Habs.

The Montreal Canadiens started the season off on fire. As a result of the way they played at the beginning of the season, the Habs are still on top of the Atlantic division. Marc Bergevin made sure that the credit for the Habs success went to the right place, the role playing forwards.

Yes Carey Price was great, and the Habs got important contributions from the Defense corps. However, the third line, and fourth line role players saved the Habs bacon during the beginning of the season. When players like Brendan Gallagher, Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec weren’t producing, the role players were.

Byron and Danault’s Performance

Players like Paul Byron and Phillip Danault have had monster seasons, and have become very important players. Danault has now become the Canadiens second line Center.

In 45 games this season, Danault has scored nine goals, and 15 assists totaling 24 points. Many thought that Danault would just develop into a depth player, or defensive specialist. However Danault seems to be developing more and more every week.

Paul Byron has not only lit up the score sheet, but he plays every situation for the Habs. Byron plays a top six role at five on five and he has been rewarded with power play time as well. Byron has also been a terrific penalty killer for the Canadiens all season.

The former waiver pick up has scored 13 goals, and 14 assists, totaling 27 points in 44 games. Byron has clearly out preformed his contract, and was an absolute steal off of the waiver wire.

Bergevin made it clear that the Canadiens don’t have a top six, or a bottom six group. Rather, he indicated that the Canadiens play as a team, and everyone makes important contributions. He also feels very confident about the Habs future moving forward.

For more Montreal Canadiens trade rumors, speculation, and scenario’s click here.

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