The Montreal Canadiens relieved general manager (GM) Marc Bergevin of his duties, along with assistant GM (AGM) Trevor Timmins. This comes just a day after hiring former New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton as Executive President of Hockey Operations (PHO). With Bergevin now gone after nine and a half seasons, the search is on for his replacement; here are the top five candidates to take over as Habs GM.
Roberto Luongo was a goaltender in the NHL for 19 seasons, playing for the New York Islanders, Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks. He played over 1000 games and had a record of 489-392-33-91 with 77 shutouts (SO) and a career save percentage (SV%) of .919. In the 2008-09 season with the Canucks, he became the first goaltender since Bill Durnan in 1947-48 to be named captain of his team, and in 2011 he helped lead his team to the Stanley Cup Final. Luongo was born in Montreal, Quebec and played junior for the Val-D’or Foreurs.
Luongo was a very outspoken and respected player around the league, however, besides being bilingual, he doesn’t bring that much experience to the table. In 2021 he was named GM of Team Canada for the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Cup and most recently named AGM of Hockey Canada to help build the roster for the 2022 Winter Olympics. It will be his job to evaluate the goaltending and choose the best three goaltenders for Team Canada. His name is out there, but his inexperience will be a huge factor; then again, with Gorton as PHO, the new Canadiens GM won’t need much experience and can learn on the job.
Luc Robitaille spent 19 seasons in the NHL and became the highest-scoring left winger in NHL history. He was a member of the Los Angeles Kings for 14 seasons and played also with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Rangers and Detroit Red Wings, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2001-02. In 1,431 games, he scored 668 goals and 1,394 points; he held several Kings franchise records and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF) in 2009. In 2007, the Kings retired his number 20, becoming only the sixth player in King’s history to have his number retired.
After he retired, Robitaille was hired by the Kings to be President of Business Operations in 2007. He was made President of Hockey Operations in 2017, and since he has been an executive with the team, they have won two Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014. Robitaille brings some experience to the Canadiens and could fit nicely into the GM role; he helped the Kings through a rebuild that led to a couple of Cups and is currently working through another. He and Gorton could be an excellent pair to help the Canadiens restructure the team and set it on the right path.
Martin Brodeur is known as one of the best goaltenders of this generation, playing nearly all of his career with the New Jersey Devils, plus seven games with the St.Louis Blues. He is the all-time leader in wins, losses, SOs and games played for goalies. He won the Vezina Trophy four times for top goalie, has gone 12 straight seasons with 30 wins or more, and is a member of the HHOF. Brodeur was born in Montreal, and his father, Denis Brodeur, was the long-time official photographer for the Canadiens.
In the middle of the 2014-15 season, Brodeur retired while playing with the Blues and was immediately hired by the Blues to be GM Doug Armstrong’s special assistant in January 2015. In May of the same year, he was promoted to AGM of the Blues and signed a three-year contract. In 2017 he was appointed to be a management team member for the 2018 Winter Olympics men’s hockey team. He then rejoined the Devils in 2018 when he was hired to be Executive Vice President of Business Development then in 2020, he was made advisor to the GM of the Devils. Brodeur, like Robitaille, has had a remarkable post-hockey career in management at various levels.
Martin Madden Jr.
Martin Madden was born in Quebec City, and played midget AAA as a youth. He attended McGill University, and graduated with a degree in engineering. He currently lives in Quebec, and is the son of former Quebec Nordiques GM Martin Madden, who was at the Nordiques helm from 1988 until 1990.
Madden Jr. got his first hockey job as a scout for the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) in 1997. After finishing his MBA in Finance at HEC Montreal, he joined the Rangers as an amateur scout in 1998 and held that position until 2005, when he joined the Carolina Hurricanes as a scout. He won a Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006 before becoming the Anaheim Ducks’ Director of Amateur Scouting in 2008. He was eventually promoted to AGM of the Ducks in 2020. In his time with the Ducks, Madden has overseen the team scouting along with most hockey operations and initiatives. Madden is one of the prime candidates for the Canadiens GM position, especially if Molson wants to improve drafting and development.
Mathieu Darche played only 250 hockey games in the NHL, most of them with the Canadiens, and scored only 72 points. However, he was a standout in the American Hockey League (AHL), where he scored 443 points in 552 games, including 221 goals. He won the Calder Cup in 2004 with the Milwaukee Admirals, and was an AHL all-star in 2006-07. Darche wasn’t an NHL All-Star like some other candidates on this list, but he did play through the system and knows the game.
Before getting a job in the NHL, Darche was Vice President of Sales and Marketing in Canada for Delmar International Inc. In May 2019, Darche was named Director of Hockey Operations for the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he works directly with GM Julien Brisebois. Darche was a member of the Lightning for two Stanley Cups, most recently defeating the Canadiens in the Cup final. Darche has been involved with a winning team his entire time with the Lightning but, like Luongo, has limited experience at the NHL level.
Other notable candidates for the Canadiens GM job are: Jocelyn Thibault, Owner VP of Sherbrooke Phoenix in the QMJHL; Vincent Damphousse, former captain of the Canadiens; Patrick Roy, former coach of the Colorado Avalanche; Daniel Briere, GM of the Maine Mariners in the ECHL; and Martin Lapointe, current Director of Player Development for the Canadiens.
Geoff Molson said in his recent presser that they want to find a GM sooner than later, but the search will be thorough. He says the GM will be bilingual and will work in tandem with the current VPHO Gorton. Whoever is hired will be in good hands with Gorton, and hopefully, they will find the right person to help put the Canadiens back on top of the league.
Trege Wilson has been a freelance content writer for the past four years and with the THW for the past year. He is the co-host of the popular Montreal Canadiens podcast Habs Unfiltered on IHeartRadio.com.Trege is very passionate about all things Canadiens and loves to provide his readers with great quality news, rumours and opinions on the Montreal Canadiens. Trege has also been featured on JblamSports and JDFSports Podcasts; for interviews and guest appearances, you can contact him at any of his social media accounts listed under his photo in such articles as this one.