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Marc Bergevin’s latest moves still hurt the Habs (badly)
Credit: The end of his reign was not a logical continuation of his beginnings.
Kent Hughes has been in post for 20 months, and Jeff Gorton for two months more.

Since the change of management in Montreal, almost every decision made by the HuGo duo has been applauded (with good reason) by fans and journalists alike.

Tyler Toffoli vs. Emil Heineman, a 1st-round pick (Filip Mesar) and others…

Ben Chiarot vs. a 1st-round pick (used to acquire Alex Newhook) and more…

Artturi Lehkonen vs Justin Barron and a 2nd round pick…

Brett Kulak vs. 2nd round pick (Lane Hutson) and more…

Kirby Dach vs Alexander Romanov and more…

Mike Mathson vs Jeff Petry and Ryan Poehling…

Sean Monahan vs. nothing…

Alex Newhook vs. two relatively high picks…

It’s only Kent Hughes’ last two trades that leave some puzzled: Joel Edmundson vs. two distant picks… with 50% of Edmundson’s salary/cap hit retained.

Then the whole deal that got Mike Hoffman out of Montreal, but left us with $2.34 million of Jeff Petry’s salary/cap hit for two full seasons.

Kent Hughes has a near-perfect track record since joining the Habs.

(Credit: Twitter/screenshot)

Malicious tongues will say that Justin Barron and Filip Mesar may not become impact players, but they would forget to mention Lane Hutson, so we won’t listen to them.

In terms of signings, Kent Hughes also stood out.

Kirby Dach at minus $3.4 million a year…

Alex Newhook at less than $3 million a year…

Sean Monahan at less than $2 million per year…

Samuel Montembeault at $1 million…

Even Cole Caufield at $7.85 million per season can be seen as a very good deal already…

Make Jake Allen the exception that proves the rule. Nearly $4 million a year for an oft-injured goalie on a downward slope is a lot of money poorly invested, but hey…

Yes, the Habs are now in a relatively good position to complete their rebuild within the next two years and then aim for big performances.

But there are still some bumps in the road. Remnants and scars from the end of Marc Bergevin’s reign.

The end of his reign was not a logical continuation of his beginnings.

(Credit: YouTube)

As we all know, a GM who smells hot soup and has to win too often makes bad moves that handicap the organization for a long time to come. I’ll always remember Pierre Gauthier’s addition of Tomas Kaberle… some time before he lost his job. Fortunately, there were penalty-free buyouts after the last lockout

But those amnesty buyouts no longer exist.

The Habs are still stuck with four bad contracts. One very bad, two bad and one still bad. In this order :

Brendan Gallagher ($6.5 million per season / 4 years)
Christian Dvorak ($4.45 million per season / 2 years)
Joel Armia ($3.4 million per season / 2 years)
Josh Anderson ($5.5 million per season / 4 years)

Let’s ignore Josh Anderson’s contract, which I haven’t given up on yet. And even when he’s not producing, Anderson still serves a purpose on the ice.

But the other three contracts turned out to be emotional decisions made in a panic… which still affect the organization today and for which there is no real solution. It’s not for nothing that they’re all available if there’s ever an interested party elsewhere in the NHL…

How could Marc Bergevin give Brendan Gallagher so much money… after a difficult playoff run on the bubble, a body that was racking up injuries and such a good first deal? Gallagher’s contract is hurting a lot today. And that’s not going to change!

In Armia’s case, how could Bergevin be so blinded by his 4th line’s strong playoff run that he offered Armia a golden bridge… while letting Corey Perry and Eric Staal go. Armia has played every other night since he arrived in Montreal.

And Dvorak? Drafting Jesperi Kotkaniemi was probably the right decision, but did we really need to draft Christian Dvorak? Especially after letting Phillip Danault go? Besides, Danault’s contract looks pretty good in LA, don’t you think?

Marc Bergevin was emotional and less rational in his final moments with the Habs. Remember his press conference to announce the signing of Brendan Gallagher? He thought he had the team to win the Stanley Cup… forgetting that without Price, Weber, Danault, Perry and company, it was going to be harder. We ended up in last place in the NHL

From the GM who always completed good trades and generally had the upper hand over his counterparts when he traded – except perhaps in the Drouin vs. Sergachev exchange – Marc Bergevin ended his reign with the Habs in reverse.

Because yes, Marc Bergevin’s latest moves are still hurting the Habs today.

Let’s hope that’s not what’s in store for Kent Hughes. His draft picks are already the talk of the town (Slafkovsky and Reinbacher)…

And he’s coming in with quite a handcuff in terms of salary retention, as he’s already paying Joel Edmundson, Jeff Petry and Karl Alzner not to play for the CH. And no one has mentioned Carey Price’s contract yet!

But for now, fans have more and more confidence in the team’s management. We’re okay.

In a gust

– How do you like it?

– Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman on the road to redemption?

– Will it ever end?

– Surprise! Canada will face the Americans for the bronze medal (basketball).


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