“Fools and Bairns (children) should never see half done work.”
18th Century Scottish Proverb
Because he failed to solve these issues by July second, Bergevin has faced a summer-long barrage of cyberspace hand-wringing that has bordered on hysteria.
It’s September. Summer is gone. Bergevin will be heading into training camp with a 23 player roster signed and 8.5 million dollars in salary cap room. I think it’s safe to say that Bergevin is not going to be handing that money back to Geoff Molson in order to bolster the Canadien Arena Company’s bottom line.
In other words, Bergvin enters September with “half done work”.
Bergevin embarked on his off-season journey fully aware that he had a good, but not great team. Despite a struggling offense and issues at centre ice, the Canadiens still finished with 103 points and won the Atlantic Division. That put them seventh in the overall league standings.
Since then, the Canadiens have lost both right wing Alexander Radulov and top four defensemen Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin.
Importantly, at the same time, they added left wing Jonathan Drouin plus defenseman Karl Alzner. They also signed veteran right wing Ales Hemsky and defenseman Mark Streit.
For all intents, Drouin replaces Radulov and Alzner is an effective replacement for Emelin. Streit might be able to take Markov’s place on the power play but at no point in his career has be been close to Markov’s five-on-five talents.
Bergevin is fully aware of the problems the Canadiens had all season at centre ice. Now he also has to deal with top end of his defense with the Markov absence. He has five weeks to do something about it before the season-opener.
Between now and then, teams will be assessing their own needs. Five or six of them, including Toronto, Detroit, Dallas, Chicago and Washington will be forced to make significant deals to solve serious salary cap issues and the Canadiens are one of a handful of teams that can take full advantage.
Nobody know what Bergevin’s end-game is but, with 8.5 million dollars to spend, it’s safe to say he still has one or two rabbits in his hat that will have a major impact on the team’s opening night roster.
It takes patience and a long term game plan. Might be a good idea to hold off on the analytics and second guessing until the off-season job is complete.
NEXT UP – The Canadiens Forwards heading into training camp.