Welcome back to Easy Like Ea-Monday Morning, you’re easy reading article to start off your week. The best part is if you are reading this properly, you should be doing so on the pooper during company time! This week we will discuss the recent rumours that Marc Bergevin may be looking for a change up within the Habs front office.
In his recent edition of 33 Thoughts, Elliot Friedman discusses the possibility of Marc Bergevin returning with the Canadiens in a different role this up coming season. It has been a tumultuous season for the long time GM who has just one year left on his contract with the Habs, and after the recent playoff success it was assumed that he would receive an extension. However, this extension may come with a twist that Habs fans were not expecting. At least most Habs fans.
Friedman discussed the possibility of Bergevin returning to the club as the President of Hockey Operations rather than as General Manager. A little bit of a shock but this is something that I have personally been throwing all season just as my on personal opinion with no sort of backing our sources to validate my hypothesis. While the reasons for the change in job title were not necessarily the ones that I had in mind, it would be a logical move for the club.
One of the long standing issues within the Habs organization has been the inability to maintain their front office talent in-house. The Habs have lost a number of high ranking personnel only to watch them go on to have success elsewhere in the NHL. Julien Brisebois is a prime example of this as he has been the one to put the finishing touches on to what is easily one of the best rosters assembled in the Salary Cap era. In a more recent example of this, the team just lost fan favourite Joël Bouchard to Anaheim as he accepted a position of Head Coach with the San Diego Gulls.
With Bergevin, the move to Hockey Operations appears to do more with the mental grind of the position rather than keeping talent in house, however it is also a two birds with one stone situation. While Bergevin’s tenure with the Canadiens has been a contentious topic among fans, what he has done to better position the organization for success from top to bottom cannot be understated. If Bergevin were to step away from the GM position, he is leaving his successor with one of the top prospect pools in the league, a minor league affiliated coming off the best season in decades along with a plethora of picks for any new comer to stamp their mark on the organization’s future. All of this ignoring the fact that the Habs are coming off a glorious playoff run that proved even the harshest of critics wrong.
When I first brought up this idea to my colleagues within the Hot Sauce family, I thought that this would be a move to promote Scott Mellanby within. He is a guy that is starting to get attention from teams around the league, having been interviewed by the Florida Panthers last off-season as one example.
Mellanby has been with the Canadiens since 2012-13, the same season that Bargevin took over with the club, and while Bergy’s loyalty has burned him in the past, this time things may be different. Mellanby was was promoted to Assistant GM of the Laval Rockets in 2018 which was the year where things took a turn for the Habs farm team. His first order of business was hiring Bouchard as coach, and suffice to say things have worked out magically since then. Not to say that this was all on Mellanby, but he was a part of the process and he deserves credit for making one of the smarter moves for the organization in recent memory.
Promoting from within makes sense, the Habs front office has been trending in the right direction through their reset that provided results a bit earlier than most fans anticipated. Mellanby would be walking into a position with a high level of familiarity in terms of the direction the team is hoping to continue to work towards. He has been involved in the draft process the entire time and would have a solid base to work with as he puts his stamp on the team this upcoming season.
The Habs have 11 picks in the upcoming NHL entry draft, and assuming that they do nothing to persuade Seattle to draft a specific player, the team looks to be on track to have approximately $16M in cap space to work with this off-season. Of course there are a number of Free Agents to consider, but this summer provides a wide range of possibilities for the direction that the Canadiens front office could take the team in the immediate future. With Price and Weber nearing the end of their careers, along with a uprising of young talent, this has to be the summer that the Habs determine their identity to allow their two prominent leaders to ride off into the sunset.
Whether you love or hate Bergevin, should he move on from GM of the team, he is leaving his successor with a much better starting point that he was given. I am admittedly a Bergy truther but he deserves the fans’ gratitude as he had laid the foundation for a new fresh perspective to take this team over the hump.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Hot Sauce Family and check out our Youtube channel for all of our podcasts and videos! This week on Not Sauce For Work Peeze, Eagle and Terry talk NBA Finals, Rachel Nichols, Trevor Bauer and Matiss Kivilenieks before being joined by Carlan Gay from NBA.com Canada.