Dropping three straight games at this point in the season isn’t quite a kiss of death for the Montreal Canadiens. Considering that they had games in hand on the entire division heading into this abysmal stretch, losing to the Winnipeg Jets doesn’t change much in terms of their playoff chances.
The problem is that they look to be dead in the water, and assuming they do still make the playoffs, their run will be short lived if things don’t change quickly.
Marc Bergevin can’t hang his hat on simply making the playoffs in a weak North division, so he needs them to be positioned for some success once there. Failure to at least win a round should absolutely see him handed his walking papers, particularly considering that his coaching change has left him without any scapegoats. It’s just him now.
Cole Caufield has arrived in the pros, but it would be wildly unrealistic to expect a rookie fresh out of college to save this team after a few games in the AHL. He definitely looks like he can help, but it will take more than that to make this team any sort of threat beyond limping into the playoffs. Enter, the deadline, Bergevin’s last chance to add someone not named Caufield to his squad.
Help on the back end seems an immediate and pressing need. Shea Weber had a brutal game last night, Jeff Petry and Joel Edmundson weren’t much better, and arguably one of the better blueliners in a Habs uniform was Otto Leskinen, who was just called up from Laval. If they can find a deal to upgrade the blue line, it could go a long way in mitigating some of the defensive errors that are currently dragging the team down.
It is likely the only area Bergevin can target, as reaching for some scoring help seems inadvisable. The biggest offensive name on the market appears to be Taylor Hall, and if his performance in Buffalo this season is any indication, he wouldn’t contribute much more than the aforementioned Caufield.
Bergevin was seen texting an unknown person late in last night’s game, and the TVA crew reasonably opined that he was either texting Caufield to give him some good news, or another GM about a trade. I’m inclined to say it was the latter, and we’ll all have to wait for now to see with and for whom he’ll be dealing. I assume a deal is coming, but Bergevin has never allowed much to leak in his tenure.
Of course, all of this begs the question of whether a man trying to save his job is the right person to make a drastic move at this year’s deadline. He built this team, he’s executed multiple coaching changes, and still they seem no closer to competing for a cup than when he took his position.
Perhaps my titular question is incomplete. I somewhat hope that Bergevin has a big move planned for Monday’s deadline, but I also wonder if he should even be allowed to make one.