Setting Up for Bergevin’s Second Season

Surely the Canadiens staff is busy in preparing for the next task at hand, the entry draft. The combine in Toronto gave them a look and assistance in getting ready for it.  Moving forward, Bergevin and company have their own combine to get a further view on certain players of interest as time dwindles down to the big day. Unlike other years, all the rounds will be in one single day. For those who love this part of the offseason, it will be exciting to say the least.

Photo: Richard Wolowicz, Getty Images

Photo: Richard Wolowicz, Getty Images

There are a number of names on Habs fans’ lips that pay attention to prospects coming up more than others. Then you have a group of fans that just want either a French player or a guy with size. Some want both of these things. Canadiens fans need to put their full trust in the staff, especially Timmins who is one of the best in the business. They may move up to get a certain player that they are really high on that they do not feel will drop to them at the 25th spot. We have seen them do this in the past, as you may recall with Jarred Tinordi. A particular player that fellow AATH member, Colton Di Stefano, myself and a number of other Habs fans like the knowledgeable Robert Rice of Habs EOTP are interested in is Anthony Mantha. Mantha would satisfy those that are on the French/big player train as he is from Quebec and listed at 6’4”. He had 89 points (50 goals, 39 assists) this past season for the Val-d’Or Foreurs in 67 games played. Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus slated him in at the #22 spot on his Top 100 Draft Prospects list most recently. If the Canadiens are interested, which according to Marc Godin, Mantha felt they did have some, then we just may see Montreal try to snag this player.

Once the draft is all said and done, Bergevin will move forward to addressing other needs for the Habs this upcoming season through free agency. The Habs are close to the 50-contract mark and that may be the reason why 2011 prospect Daniel Pribyl did not get an entry-level deal before the June 1st deadline. As for Archambault, many were not high on him anyway so losing his rights was not that big of a deal. Fans continue to speculate and create their wish lists of who they want the Habs to pick up on the market to make this team closer to being a contender for Lord Stanley. Is Bickell the answer? What about Nathan Horton? The Boston Globe indicates that it is still highly unlikely that the Bruins will re-sign the big forward.

No player comes that cheap during this period and a team should not try to build their roster through this process either. However, this is a time where a team can add secondary pieces that will make their squad a lot better because of it. Bickell won’t come cheap if Chicago lets him go. He is having an unbelievable campaign that is above what many believed he was capable of. Horton, regardless of concussion problems in recent years, is still a solid player that can give the Canadiens a boost offensively. Not to mention the fact that he shows up in the playoffs. Fans also have to keep in mind that teams will be using their compliance buyouts, which may help the caliber of potential targets to sign. In addition to these two players, fans have thrown the names of Iginla, Clarkson, Clowe, Filppula and Bordeleau around as players they would like to be inked by the CH. If I am Montreal, I definitely look to keep Halpern in particular. He is keen to stay; he is remarkable in the face-off dot and is smart defensively. However, the Canadiens may want to get younger and find someone that has similar traits to the veteran.

You know who is listed as an unrestricted free agent? Maxim Lapierre. Likely that the Canucks keep him as he has grown significantly as a player in the role that he is in on the West coast, but this is a guy that a lot of fans miss in Habs nation. If he does walk, I would not mind if he came back because not only has he knocked off a lot of the pest antics, which were hilarious at times, he developed as quite a reliable bottom 6 player that could be of use down the stretch.

We could sit here all day playing “arm chair GM”, going through the pros and cons of all those that currently are slotted to becoming UFAs. Some of these players will be re-signed, the rest will look for new homes and maybe one or two will end up in Montreal.

The wait is becoming unbearable as the playoffs continue without the Canadiens in the hunt. I hope that you have June 30th and July 5th marked in your calendars because these are important days for the team we go crazy about. These are important days for GM Marc Bergevin as all eyes will be on him and the judgment will come from all angles, whether positive or not. It’s coming.

The countdown already started.

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One Response to Setting Up for Bergevin’s Second Season

  1. Bickell, Horton, Stallberg would be the order of my FA quest…. no Lapierre please…..
    And a trade of Diaz or Markov or both for a physical D man, and trade up to get Mantha in the draft. Done

    Mark June 4, 2013 at 10:45 am Reply

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