Montreal Canadiens, Marc Bergevin’s To Do List: Part 1.
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By James Stephan (@J_Habs)
If the NHL and NHLPA would be able to come to terms with a new CBA and salvage part of the 2012-2013 NHL season many fans are wondering what would be on the list of things to do for Montreal Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin.
From preparing for the upcoming 2012-2013 NHL Entry Draft to signing PK Subban, Habs GM Marc Bergevin has a mound of work ahead of him; below is a short list items that will need to be addressed either in the upcoming phantom 2012-2013 season or the next.
PK Subban – Pen to Paper
The young defender has been referred by experts as the corner stone of the Montreal Canadiens, a building block that will pioneer the new era of Montreal Canadiens defensemen. Marc Bergevin will have to sign Subban as soon as possible once a new CBA is reached; the scenario that’s been in discussion is that the Montreal Canadiens wish to offer Subban the same contract break down as Max Pacioretty and Carey Price which means a “stepping stone” contract of two to three years followed by a large six to seven year contract.
The feeling around the league is that Subban camp wishes to forgo the intermediary contract and sign long term as soon as possible. It could be said that Subban wanting a long term contract rather than a massive paycheck is a very positive sign for Montreal indicating that it’s only a matter of time before the fan favorite defender is back on the ice in a Habs jersey.
Scott Gomez – The seven million dollar question mark
With the likes of Tomas Plekanec, David Desharnais, Lars Eller, Petteri Nokelainen, Blake Geoffrion, and Ryan White able to play at center, Scott Gomez is looking at a window of opportunity that seems bleak at best. If the new Montreal Canadiens management have a change of heart and decide that Scott Gomez has a place on the roster it will likely be the last opportunity he gets as a Montreal Canadien.
Many are praying for an amnesty clause in the new CBA which would see teams like Montreal (Gomez, Kaberle), Tampa Bay (Lecavalier) and perhaps even Calgary (Bouwmeester) renegotiate or buyout their contracts without penalty thus alleviating some of the financial pressure. This seems to be an avenue that many fans are rooting for, however until a new CBA is reached the amnesty clause is pure speculation.
The thought of putting Gomez on waivers and allowing the veteran center to play the remainder of his contract in the AHL seemed appealing to many fans, however this would take away opportunities from Habs prospects that are looking to improve their game to prepare for the NHL. Players such as Louis Leblanc, Blake Geoffrion and in the not so distant future Alex Galchenyuk will be competing for the top roster spot in Hamilton and require all the top line experience they can get.
Marc Bergevin has a massive decision to make with Scott Gomez and many fans are eager to see which course of action the rookie GM takes.
First line forward – Help on the way?
Michael Cammalleri was pegged as Montreal’s best sniper before he was traded mid-game by former Habs GM Pierre Gauthier, and was replaced by Rene Bourque. Not to discredit Bourque but many experts agree there is a significant gap in skill level between him and Cammalleri and Marc Bergevin will be tasked with finding a top line winger to compliment Tomas Plekanec.
Plekanec has been dominant in the Czech league playing alongside friend and future hall of famer Jaromir Jagr; Plekanec has shown time and time again that when paired with a talented winger he can produce impressive numbers, and it is that offensive production that Montreal desperately needs to avoid another subpar season.
David Desharnais had stellar chemistry playing with Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty however many believe that the Habs are missing a top line winger to play opposite of Pacioretty; the chemistry Max had with Cole was beyond excellent but it is a matter of time before the veteran power forward decides to retire as he just turned 34.
Potential trade targets that had revolved around the Montreal Canadiens before the lockout had been initiated were Anaheim Ducks’ forward Bobby Ryan, Florida Panthers’ young up and coming star Jonathan Huberdeau, Winnepeg Jets’ Evander Kane and New York Islanders’ winger Kyle Okposo. The price tag would vary between players and each team would be looking to be paid a premium so it will be extremely interesting to see what Marc Bergevin decides to do; with the upcoming NHL Entry Draft looking to be one of the strongest draft classes since 2005 it is possible that the Habs opt to acquire another top five pick through trade as this may prove to be the most cost efficient way to bolster their top six.
The moment the new CBA comes into effect, the clock will start ticking as many teams will be itching to pull off a few trades and improve their roster, fans are keeping their fingers crossed that Marc Bergevin will be on the front line being one of the more active General Managers.