Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin’s offseason has been hit or miss so far. The successes have largely come with regard to his coaching hires, Dominique Ducharme and Joel Bouchard. On the ice though, like the top-secret checklist below, that we’ve managed to get our hands on? It remains a work in progress.
Keep in mind, previous editions of his checklist that we’ve been able to pass on to you in the past had all been coincidentally drawn up after playoff appearances. As a result, following the disappointment that was the 2017-18 season, big changes are needed here. Many fans might agree, even if the biggest change on their lists might be in the front office.
Here is Bergevin’s checklist for this current 2018 offseason:
✓ Avoid using Shea Weber’s foot injury as an excuse for the season at the post-mortem press conference, driving over the feet of everyone else with the team bus instead.
✓ Cite a need for an attitude adjustment in the locker room, conveniently ignoring how the willingness to hold one’s self accountable is the truest display of character.
✓ Make pitches to the best local coaching talents available in Dominique Ducharme and Joel Bouchard to fill in pending coaching vacancies in Montreal and Laval.
✓ Pray everyone accepts switching assistant coaches behind the bench as the only hockey-operations change required to improve the on-ice product. If not, look to the locker room for more scapegoats.
Trade Max Pacioretty for an established No. 1 center or No. 2 defenseman in the lead-up to the draft.
✓ Re-sign Antti Niemi.
✓ Re-sign Rinat Valiev.
✓ Consider rebuilding team’s relationship with Alex Galchenyuk over the next two seasons that we still have him under contract, as he remains the team’s most offensively dynamic player under 25 years of age.
__ Trade Alex Galchenyuk for an established No. 1 center or No. 2 defenseman in the lead-up to draft.
__ Trade Alex for an up-and-coming center or defensive prospect with way more upside.
✓ Trade Alex for another winger who is already regressing offensively with a lower ceiling.
✓ Prepare a lengthy Microsoft PowerPoint presentation for Geoff Molson on how the Habs are as good as contenders again. Working title: “Montreal Canadiens: 2018-19 Stanley Cup Champions Anchored by John Tavares and a Healthy Shea Weber”.
✓ Pat self on back for the title alone.
✓ Schedule a call with Shea’s doctors about his prognosis as a formality.
✓ Schedule myself an appointment with the team psychologist as a necessity.
Trade Pacioretty for an established No. 1 center or No. 2 defenseman at the draft.
✓ Go off the board with the No. 3 selection at the NHL Entry Draft, because Jesperi Kotkaniemi is an undisputed No. 1 center.
✓ Draft six more centers just in case.
Trade Pacioretty for an established No. 1 center or No. 2 defenseman after the draft.
✓ Prepare for our inevitable in-person meeting with Tavares. Sell him hard on leaving the New York Islanders for a worse-off team who are the historic rivals of his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs who play in a city that speaks a completely different language, in a province with the worst taxes in the country.
✓ Wonder aloud why the Habs weren’t so much as a finalist to negotiate for his services.
✓ Use the space I wisely saved last year to take on Steve Mason’s contract for the purposes of a buy-out and to acquire third-liner Joel Armia. Foresight, baby.
✓ Bring back Tomas Plekanec, who’s just a few games shy of 1,000 played with the Habs, to distract from the fact we’re clearly rebuilding at this point.
✓ Tell everyone we’re not rebuilding and still looking to make the playoffs.
✓ Hope no one cracks the code, seeing as actually good teams have slightly loftier expectations than that.
✓ Re-sign Jacob De La Rose.
✓ Re-sign Phillip Danault.
Trade Pacioretty for an established No. 1 center or No. 2 defenseman before the season starts.
✓ For some reason, let Pacioretty know we won’t be re-negotiating with one full year under contract left for him to play, during which he may potentially lead the team in scoring again.
✓ Hope that doesn’t leak. That would suck.
✓ Trade Pacioretty for whatever I can get for him.
✓ Re-sign Michael McCarron.
✓ Re-sign Kerby Rychel.
✓ Prepare a lengthy PowerPoint presentation for Geoff. Working title: “Montreal Canadiens: 2021-22 Stanley Cup Champions Anchored by
John Tavares Alexander Ovechkin and a Healthy Still-Under-Contract Shea Weber”.
✓ Convince Geoff 10-year plans are the new 5-year plans.
✓ Hope he doesn’t bring up how we’re actually in Year 7.
Make sure to lock up checklist in desk.
After 10 years of writing hockey, Ryan decided it was as good a time as any to actually join The Hockey Writers for the 2014-15 season. Having appeared as a guest on such programs as CBC Radio One’s Daybreak, Ryan has written for such publications as the Montreal Gazette and Bleacher Report and worked for the NHL itself and his hometown Montreal Canadiens. He currently covers the Habs for THW as a columnist.