So after a long search it has finally been leaked that Marc Bergevin will replace Pierre Gauthier as General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens. Bergevin has been the assistant GM to Stan Bowman in Chicago since June of 2011. Though he has a little less than 1 season`s experience in that position, he has spent 2 seasons as Chicago`s Director of Player Personnel, among other positions for the past 7.
Bergevin is an interesting choice. A Montreal-born defenseman who played just under 1200 games in the NHL, Bergevin is an ideal candidate – but lacking in the knockout experience that someone like (Red Wings Assistant GM) Jim Nill would have brought to the table. That said – he has spent the better part of the last decade in critical hockey positions such as Assistant Coach, Director of Scouting and as a scout. He truly is a guy who has seen the game from all angles – the ice, the bench as a coach, the scouting and operations sides. Bergevin played a large part in a turnaround that saw Chicago go from a last place team with young talent to a Stanley Cup Champion in 2010. If ever there was an appropriate situation for him to join it is this one.
I like Bergevin – especially over Pierre McGuire (the other rumored choice). Montreal needs stability and experience. Bergevin will provide both of those things going forward. The question now becomes: who will be his coach?
Typically new GM’s like to surround themselves with people they have worked with in the past and can trust. Where does this leave Patrick Roy who has been thought of as the front runner for that position?
Finally – where does this leave Scott Gomez and a few other players who seem to be on the outside of the corps of young players who will lead this team out of the basement of the Eastern Conference? There have been reports this morning that Gomez will be bought out. I’m not sure that makes any sense whatsoever.
Gomez’ contract last 2 more seasons with a cap hit of 7.3M each. In reality though, his true costs are $5.5M and $4.5M, which does present an opportunity to attract teams that need to hit the cap floor – but want to find savings. A buy out would mean that Gomez’ cap hit would be $3.5M this season and $4.5M next followed by two subsequent seasons of $1.6M cap hit penalties. Essentially a buy out doubles the remaining length of a contract – meaning that if at all possible, Montreal should try to move Gomez, or hope that the new CBA allows teams to cut one contract going forward (as was the case the last time the CBA was negotiated).
A buy-out is certainly still an option – but if I were GM, I would want to exhaust the other options open before jumping into an expensive situation that could handcuff the team for the next 4 years.
We’ll see what happens.