Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is not one to make a rash trade that will make his team better in the short term while jeopardizing it in the long term. 2015 wasn’t a particularly busy year trade wise for Montreal but there were some moves that made a lot of headlines both good and bad. These are the best and worst trades Bergevin made this year.
Bergevin’s best trade of the year
The best move Bergevin made this year was at the 2015 trade deadline where he picked up a top four defenceman in Jeff Petry from the Edmonton Oilers for a second and fourth round pick. It is hard to find top four defencemen and the price was more than worth it for Petry.
Petry has brought solid play and stability to Montreal’s second pairing, something that was a question mark prior to his arrival. Petry isn’t flashy but he gets the job done every night with his size, skating ability and defensive play.
Getting Petry was Bergevin’s second big deadline deal in a row after acquiring forward Thomas Vanek in 2014. It cost the Habs a second rounder and prospect Sebastian Collberg for Vanek but unlike Petry who re-signed with Montreal for six years, Vanek bolted to Minnesota as a free agent. Getting Petry was Bergevin’s biggest deal of the year and easily his best.
Headlines for the wrong reasons
Bergevin didn’t make any trades that were particularly damaging to the team but the Zack Kassian-Brandon Prust swap made headlines for the wrong reasons. Prust was a fan favourite and well liked among his teammates while Kassian has been regarded as frustrating and a bit of a problem child.
Kassian lived up to that reputation getting into an early morning car accident where alcohol was involved. He was sent to rehab but never donned a Habs jersey as he was put on waivers, cleared and sent to the AHL. He was later told to stay home until further notice and then was promptly traded to the Edmonton Oilers for goalie Ben Scrivens.
Some could argue that Kassian was never given a chance to redeem himself in Montreal and he would have filled the role he was brought in for, a right winger with size and some scoring. However, Bergevin has emphasized his desire for character in his players and perhaps didn’t want Kassian’s influence around the organization.
On the bright side of it, the Habs managed to get a fifth round pick out of the Kassian deal too, a seemingly lucky round for director of scouting Trevor Timmins. Timmins previously drafted productive NHLers Brendan Gallagher and Mikhail Grabovski and some recent promising picks in Charles Hudon and Daniel Audette in the fifth round.
"We gave Zack [Kassian] an opportunity. Unfortunately, it didn't work out. I wish him the best with the Oilers." – GM Marc Bergevin
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) December 28, 2015
What’s next for Bergevin?
With the team marred in an epic scoring slump, fans are calling for Bergevin to acquire a top six right winger, something the team has been lacking since Bergevin’s arrival. He has made it clear that he isn’t in the business to please the fans. However, Bergevin has shown a penchant for making unexpected moves such as acquiring Vanek in 2014 to the surprise of many. With the way the team is built, the pressure is on Montreal to take advantage of superstar goalie Carey Price’s prime years before it’s too late.