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Marc Bergevin needs to act now to add a new AHL head coach

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The Habs GM needs to move on from the previous regime and find himself a new AHL bench boss.

Montreal Canadiens Introduce Marc Bergevin As General Manager Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

With the Memorial Cup all wrapped up, and the NHL season down to a maximum of three games, the staffing shakeups are happening all around the NHL and AHL.

Currently the Montreal Canadiens have just Claude Julien, Kirk Muller, and Stephane Waite on the NHL coaching staff. While in the AHL there is no one scheduled to be behind the bench of the Laval Rocket, the entire coaching staff’s contracts expire on July 1 and Marc Bergevin has a chance to start fresh.

That being said, the rumours have circled that former coach Sylvain Lefebvre has already been offered the post once more, but is waiting on a potential NHL assistant job.

Five years and one playoff appearance, coupled with the fact Lefebvre is looking to move into an NHL role, should signal the end of this working relationship. Bergevin should not waste time waiting on a deal to possibly appear for him, and should be using this time to interview new potential candidates.

This past week has seen two teams make moves to improve their staff in both the NHL and AHL. The Flyers hired the coach of the Erie Otters, Kris Knoblauch, to serve as assistant to Dave Hakstol. The Otters under Knoblauch were among the OHL’s most dominant sides, and ran roughshod over the opposition with a high-powered offence. The Vegas Golden Knights hired their new AHL coach this week as well, snatching up Rocky Thompson from the Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires to lead the Chicago Wolves.

So now the onus falls on Bergevin to make his move. There are good coaches out there, even factoring in for the potential language requirements of the job.

Two names of note from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) should be Joel Bouchard, who has led an extremely successful squad in Blainville-Boisbriand the past few seasons. The other is current Drummondville Voltigeurs and Team Canada head coach Dominique Ducharme, who will return for a second stint at this year’s World Junior Championship.

Both are coaches from the province, who are highly aware of the pressures being a coach in the Canadiens organization brings. Ducharme especially has experience dealing with the spotlight from his time with the Canadian juniors.

Other teams are making their moves now, and Bergevin appears to be playing a waiting game with a coach who doesn’t have the resume to have earned that privilege. The CHL season is over, and there are plenty of candidates for him to look at. It’s a new era for the Habs’ AHL affiliate, and bringing in a new voice would be a good first step to revamping the development system.