Marc Bergevin shows he means business with Briere trade and attempted Gorges deal

Posted: June 30, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Marc Bergevin1

Turns out Marc Bergevin is not just the most stylish GM in Gary Bettman’s league. He’s also one serious operator.

After years of mismanagement under the firm of G&G (Gainey & Gauthier) – I liked to call their style “management in a constant state of utter panic” but I digress – Bergevin has proved again this week that he’s not afraid to act forcefully and do the right thing, even it it’s painful.

I was a big critic of his decision last summer to pick up Danny Briere and, like the many critics of that acquisition, I turned out to be right. Sure he did some good things in the Habs’ improbable playoff run but you don’t pay four million bucks for a fellow to play on the fourth line and log less than ten minutes a game. Simple as that. So the fact Bergevin was able to unload that salary is great news.

The even better news is that he landed a younger more productive player in Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau. Parenteau is 31 – four years younger than Briere – and you have to like the idea of nabbing a winger who’s scored 73 goals and notched 205 points over four seasons with the Islanders and then the Avalanche. The mystery here is why Patrick Roy’s Avs want Briere. The diminutive scorer has had some good years but those are long gone. But hey maybe they know something we don’t. Clearly Roy and Parenteau didn’t see eye to eye, which is almost certainly the reason this deal went through.

Jury is in on this one. This benefits the Habs. They get a top-six winger in return for a fourth liner. For the same salary. M. Bergevin, take a bow.

Now on to Josh Gorges. He was – and it now seems pretty well a fact – traded in principle to the Toronto Maple Leafs but he refused to waive his no-trade clause. So he’s still a Hab tonight. But obviously not for long.

Dave Stubbs from the Gazette reports that Gorges has a list of 15 U.S. teams he’s agreed to be traded to and he has since added a couple of Canadian teams to that list. But obviously that not-so-short list doesn’t include Toronto. Ha! What? He doesn’t want to live in the Centre of the Universe?

This one is just business. Did I mention Gauthier was maybe not the Habs’s best-ever GM? Well the Gorges contract is a case in point. G signed him to a six-year nearly-$24-million contract extension in 2012 and it was just a dumb deal. There was no reason to go that long with Gorges and now his successor is paying the price for that silliness.

There is another defenceman named P.K. Subban who needs to be signed and – ideally! – that will cost the team big big bucks for the next seven or eight years. So Gorges simply costs too much over too many years. Has he done good work for the Habs firm? Of course he has. Is his value maybe a little over-inflated by the local hockey media? Of course it is.

As Pierre McGuire correctly underlined today, this move shows that the Habs organization cleary has all kinds of confidence in their next wave of D-men, notably Jarred ‘Big Man’ Tinordi, Nathan Beaulieu and Greg Pateryn.

The best thing about all this is flashy Bergevin’s willingness to take strong decisive action that’s not fueled by nerves, fear or loathing. Now if he could only sign Mike ‘Dream’ Weaver, I’d vote for him as GM of the year.

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