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03-19-2013, 04:12 PM
Andy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Originally Posted by Quagmier View Post
This thread got weird quickly...why are we arguing which players were brought in by which GMs? Bergevin has been at this job for what? 9 months now? Was he expected to inheret a team void of players and prospects? This line of argument makes little sense. Further, it really isn't a Gauthier vs. Bergevin debate anyways, or at least its way too early to turn it into one.

Bergevin has been absolutely stellar as GM so far for the Habs in my opinion. In fact, even without making any roster moves, the positive impact he's had on the Habs franchise, its culture, the player development system, the coaching staff, and the overall climate within the media and around the league has probably worked wonders on turning this wayward ship around. Though without empirical evidence to support such a statement that will just have to remain speculation.

If I'm looking for flaws to his tenure so far, its that he is currently managing this team in the BEST possible situation a GM of the Habs could ask for. Entire organizational revamp, absurdely low expectations coming into the season, solid and young nucleus of players to build on, an absolute gift regarding amnesty buyouts (kaberle and gomez free up roughly 12 mil in salary this summer, with no long term consequences...just crazy), a young stud goalie, 3rd overall pick, lockout shortened season (giving him more time to acclimate to the role), etc. etc. In all honesty life will never really be easier for MB as GM of the Habs, especially with the early success this team has achieved.

The thing is though, the guy essentially picked up a winning lottery ticket, and had the sense and foresight to realize what he had. I remember when he came in and the questions were about how full scale the organizational dismantle would be, and you could tell he was a little bemused by it all. He recognized (i assume he did anyways) that the Habs weren't too far off from being a perennially competitive team, but that the results wouldn't come overnight. He seemed to have a plan for this team almost from his first day here, and entirely to his credit he has stuck with it so far.

His biggest achievement so far though (again, entirely my opinion): all of his moves have appeared eminently defensible from day 1:

- Hires just about everyone he's ever worked with in hockey to the coaching and management staff (presumably knows their strengths/weaknesses, plus he has the budget to max out his support team so why not do it? Gauthier didn't seem to grasp that)
- brings in prust (habs need toughness but are built on team speed...hire a sandpaper guy who can skate on most lines without too much of a dropoff)
- let your scouting team (your team's greatest strength) run the draft for you, end up with 4-5 good to great prospects (again no proof this is what he did, but given how early into his tenure he was, it seems that Timmins shouldered the load for this one and hit a homerun. Either way the Habs look to have had a great draft, and it was under MB's tenure)
-sign aging, role-playing veterans (armstrong, bouillon) to fill out the roster and provide leadership on 1-year deals (absolutely 0 downside if they don't pan out, give the spot to a rookie and wish them the best in the offseason)
- sign Pacioretty and Price to long term extensions (both within their market value, patches incredibly so)
- gives young guys chance to play in NHL after they've earned it
- sent gomez home so as not to risk injury (the right move, and one that prompted the rule change that got gomez out of town early)
- minimized the potential cap issues with cole long term by dealing him for equally productive winger in UFA season and a draft pick (say what you will about both players...this was an INCREDIBLY defensible move and one you make 10 times out of 10 if you ask me)
- Sign your burgeoning star to a crazy reasonable bridge contract (people think it was dumb because you would have to overpay in two years...but ask anaheim fans if they are upset about the 17 mil Getzlaf and Perry are getting? you pay a premium for star players, and MB went the safe route on this one...i think it was a gutsy move and the right one no matter what Subban gets on his next deal)

All those moves points to a rational GM with a vision of what this team should look like and who his core players are and will be. Each move he has made has been consistent with each other, and each move has displayed an objective rationale that you hope to find with your team's GM. Even if Prust hadn't worked out as well as he has so far, even if Bouillon hadn't been great for us, even if Cole starts lighting the lamp for Dallas again, and even if the Habs weren't (what appears to be) a burgeoning young powerhouse of a team, i can't find much fault with any of the moves MB has made so far because they all came from what looks to have been a well thought out position. Even the Therrien hiring (probably the only move i struggled with on its face) seems to have been made after extensive interviewing and the initial impressions that Therrien left.

Making the right decisions is about maximizing your chances for success and minimizing your potential for failure. In my view the merits of a decision should be examined without the benefit of hindsight, as the way a move pans out is not always indicative of its strength. People always credit the Red Wings organization for drafting guys like Zetterberg and Datsyuk in late rounds, but if they really had known how good those two guys were gonna pan out, chances are they would have gone way higher. Credit SHOULD go to the Red Wings for beefing up their european scouting and establishing a successful system in Europe years before it was the norm to do so (in the late 80s and early 90s). They maximized their chance of success and it paid off years down the road.

MB seems to be on the right track in that regard. He's addressed the organization's areas of weakness (player development and coaching), kept in place its areas of strength (scouting), and made personnel moves that maximized his chances of success and minimized his chances of failure. Will every move pan out as expected? probably not, but each one seems to have been executed with the short AND long term good of the team in mind.

As General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens so far I have to give him an A.
Good analysis and I agree. The only thing I really didn't like was the whole PK Subban contract handling. Really the only thing I can hold against Bergevin right now, but that issue is now settled.

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