Let's take a moment to look at a comprehensive list of Marc Bergevin's moves since he was hired on May 2nd, 2012.
2012 - Hires Michel Therrien
The early apprehension that swelled inside me once I was informed that Marc Bergevin was hired as Habs GM was quickly multiplied with a suspect coaching hiring decision. I took a wait and see approach before giving in to my emotions. It was quickly obvious that the "french" coaching market at that point and time was very weak but I felt that Therrien wasn't the right coach for this team. Many felt Therrien 2.0 wasn't needed and I was well amongst them. We all remember his meltdown in Pittsburgh and their Stanley Cup win the same year. I didn't think we needed that type of guy, in this type of market, despite his experiences here in the past.
Yet, looking at the market, Roy probably wanted too much from Bergevin and not much else was available, that is, if you were looking to be limited for an established "french" speaking hockey coach.
It was obvious Bergevin decided that changes needed to be made and my gut told me he was going for, SIZE, SIZE, SIZE and with many smallish players on contract, Therrien might be the guy to transition the team to where Bergevin wanted them to be in a few seasons.
In the short (2012?)-2013 season, expectations were surpassed with a solid season which ended with the Habs floundering the last few weeks and completely failing against the Senators. This is where Bergevin's made even more suspect moves that will be discussed later on in detail. Meanwhile, Therrien started this season behind the bench with similar early season success until early November where things broke apart and this team has been in turmoil with significant issues appearing at the same time. Therrien's changes didn't result in any noticeable success and the Habs finished January as a Wild Card team.
Brandon Prust: 10M / 4 yrs
Francis Bouillon: 1,5M / 1 yr
Colby Armstrong: 1,0M / 1 yr
I initially thought Prust was expensive but I've always liked what this type of player brought to the table. I nodded in approval what Marc Bergevin was trying to do and it helped that Prust fit nicely on our 3rd or 4th line in his first season and took over extra fist-oriented duties like a man. All in all, you overpay for this type of player in great demand in this league and thus far, panned out nicely for us.
Next up was Bouillon, which I took an immediate dislike to and far much more so when his contract was extended needlessly for a 2nd season barely halfway into his contract. Like many, I felt we have capable talent in the minors that can easily fit into our 3rd pairing as we smooth them into the NHL level with sheltered minutes. We shouldn't be plugging holes on our NHL roster with players at the end of their careers. Or at the very least, multiple players. Say what you want about top level prospects playing 25+ minutes in Hamilton, I'm sure they'll learn a lot more in the NHL even with 12 minutes or so a game.
My feeling about Armstrong's signing was neutral, I personally didn't care either way. Sure, I remembered his hit on Koivu but then I remember Souray serving him his lunch with a smile. He was a low-risk cheap contract which could turn out great if it worked out or easy to ignore if it simply didn't. In the end, this pickup fared well enough and I was sad to see him go at the end of the season as I enjoyed his time here.
All in all, the Free Agent 2012 signings were decent. Sure, there was a huge question mark on Cube's signing (and extension) but all in all, they were timid baby steps for a baby GM.
Daniel Briere: 8,0M / 2 years
Douglas Murray : 1.5M / 1 year
Let me be honest, I hated Briere's face ever since he smeared his nose on the generous contract he received from the Habs several years ago when he hit UFA. I didn't want him to wear a Habs jersey. But I digress, the contract... 4M per 2 years for an aging, small, injury prone forward that was coming off the WORST season of his career was simply put, troubling. I could see perhaps a 1 year signing at such a price but 2 years? I'm not sure what our GM was getting at. Didn't we have enough small players on our roster? Was he supposed to be the "french superstar" to let the masses of the mundane cheer for? Michel Therrien sure didn't get the memo because he hasn't used him properly at all. I'll be honest, he hasn't been entirely terrible but then again, why sign a career center man and use him as a winger and on your bottom lines? What is going on? At least use him properly. He's actually producing! This team need wins.
After Cube we got graced with the presence of Murray all the while we had at least a pair of hands quasi-ready to hit it at the NHL level. Was he a depth move because Drewiske was hurt? Sadly, management have mismanaged the significant opportunity to get some of our youngsters some actual NHL level experience. Who would rather see Tinordi, Beaulieu or Patryn on our 3rd pairing with some limited PK or PP time? Why give it to Murray who's been the team's weakest link? Size? Did management forget that Tinordi brings size?
All in all, the Fire Agent 2013 signings were a huge step down from 2012 (won't talk about Parros as he was a trade) and probably set us back at least a year.
New contracts or contract extensions:
29 June 2012 – Travis Moen : 7,2M / 4 yrs
2 July 2012 – Carey Price : 39M / 6 yrs
12 August 2012 – Max Pacioretty: 27M / 6 yrs
28 January 2013 – P.K Subban: 5,75M / 2 yrs
15 March 2013 – David Desharnais: 14M / 4 yrs
20 March 2013 – Francis Bouillon: 1,5M / 1yr
10 April 2013 – Peter Budaj: 2,8M / 2 yrs = 1,4M
13 June 2013 – Davis Drewiski: 1,3M / 2 yrs
12 July 2013 – Ryan White: 0,7M / 1yr
Moen : The term turned me off, 4 years for a bottom 6 veteran player is a long time. He thanked us with mostly being invisible during his first year and this season he has 1 goal in 51 games. Now with Weise, how many bottom 6 wingers who can't score do we really need on our roster anyways?
Price : A very solid signing. Numbers are just right and Marc Bergevin did the right thing signing Price before this amazing season. Needed to be done, now it's done.
Pacioretty : Extremely good signing. Probably Bergevin's best move as a GM.
Subban : In my honest opinion, Bergevin was dead wrong with term and amount and it'll cost this team badly this off-season. Subban wanted term before his Norris trophy and was a deal before being what he is today for this team, today with his constant comparisons to the cream of the crop offered by this league and representing our glorious nation in Russia in the Olympics. Our GM snubbed him and made him wait and wait, making him look bad to everyone. This won't be completely forgotten nor this troubling season coached by Michel Therrien. Ultimately, he signed in late as enough was enough and he couldn't afford to miss the season. So instead of getting him for the next few seasons at about 5M a year, I fully expect 7-8M+.
Desharnais : A ridiculous middle of the season re-signing for 4 years at 3.5 M per. Are you serious Bergevin? And we got to watch Davey coast his way all the way to the end of the season after getting his fat paycheck. What was the hurry anyways?
Bouillon : Shoot me now. I won't go into any more details on how stupid and bad this was.
Budaj : Solid signing and will probably be here a few more seasons more before Fucale comes up if he keeps doing what he does. A team player and a backup with a positive team record.
Drewiski : Decent depth move, contract is perfect.
White : Decent depth move, contract is perfect.
Players that were let go (expired contracts) :
Yannick Weber (2013, signed with Vancouver)
Colby Armstrong (2013, signed in Sweden)
Compliance buy outs 2013:
Scott Gomez: 7,3M
Tomas Kaberle: 4,25M
Gomez was a given and I would have personally went with Bourque instead of Kaberle, due to length and most likely interest for trading purposes. Kaberle was still seen at some point having some resemblance of trade value in the league with a manageable contract, Bourque did not and still does not. The departure of Weber and Ryder were easy to predict though I wish they had at least resigned Armstrong instead of picking up Parros. Parros is useless.
26 Feb 2013 – Erik Cole for Michael Ryder & 3rd rd pick 2013(Connor Crisp)
2 April 2013 – 5th rd pick 2014 for Davis Drewiski (LA)
Cole / Ryder Trade : This was a great move, Cole needed to go and he was still under contract for a few more years. Ryder's contract was ending. On top of that Ryder provided much more than expected of him. We won this trade, nothing more to say about that.
5th pick / Drewiski Trade : Nothing of note here.
Lefebvre & 7th pick / Parros Trade : My emotion hearing of this trade was pure disappointment. Parros can barely play at the NHL level and it was clear as day that this was a reaction to the way the Habs got mauled against the Sens in last year's playoffs. The contract is negligible but do we really need a slow, offensive ineffective, defensive liability on the ice on our energy line? Furthermore, instead of picking him up for free or some other guy we gave away a prospect and a pick. Seriously?
Kristo / Thomas Trade : It's far too early to tell but I like what I see from Thomas during the site's reports. I doubt Kristo will hit the NHL level at his rate of progression.
Diaz / Weise : Bergevin's interest of more size still looks like it burns passionately in his heart. Can't blame him too much about this terrible trade that sent a 2nd pairing defenseman for a 4th line player. Much of the blame goes to Therrien for using him badly using Murray instead of Diaz. Who wins this trade? If the Canucks are willing to resign Diaz and do so, they got the better part of this little deal. Remember when Diaz was playing Subban minutes and didn't totally lose his confidence? Yeah, a few months in Therrien's doghouse and you're traded for a 4th line grinder.
It's easy to state I'm not a Bergevin fan, nor was I when he got hired. Nearly two seasons later, the team is none the better with a strong nucleus that isn't supported properly nor used efficiently by poor coaching. GM changes have reflected against this as we see a GM desperately looking for size. This I find puzzling as this GM should be thinking of the future, in 2 to 3 years with prospects getting better, with rookies and young players getting better and better yet the choices made seem to contradict this path and a lot of deviations are being made to cushion the team in today's day to day. How exactly does Cube or Murray make this team better, veterans near the end of their careers? Wouldn't be better to get prospects as much NHL time as possible and build from there?
Who would have been a better choice? Looking back, would Mcguire have been such a terrible person for the job? Or perhaps even Roy?
So, how do you feel about Bergevin today? Has it changed somewhat from it initially was? And if so, how? With hindsight, would you have hired someone else?