Keep Calm and Carey On
While Marc Bergevin very likely isn’t completely done, with Prust, Bouillon and Armstrong signing in Montreal , we find out what a few of our contributors think of the early off season moves by Bergevin?
Dennis – I like the additions, especially Prust. This is a true character guy and tough as nails. We have too many players for the spots available, and I look forward to see what’s going to happen. I expect a big trade soon.
Zach - If it says one thing, it says Bergevin no longer wants the Habs to be an easy team to play against. In the past few days he has signed contracts with White, Moen, Prust and Bouillon. That’s a lot of grit. And what is there not to like about the Armstrong signing? I’m not saying I love it, I’m saying, what on earth could you not like about it?
It’s a one-year, $1-million deal for a guy who grew up a Habs fan and is excited to join the team, and has something to prove. If it doesn’t work out, you lose nothing, really. Seems like a no brainer. I know some on the Twitter are already upset with Bergevin, but as I Tweeted, it only cost Bergevin $5 million next season to bring in three guys, all of them with upside. Also gives him more room to maybe move some forwards (please move Bourque, please move Bourque). Not to mention the addition of Bouillon makes Kaberle obsolete with a top six of Markov, Subban, Jorges, Emelin, Bouillon and Weber/Diaz (one of the latter is gone I would suspect, and my gut tells me it’ll be Weber).
All those man games lost to injury last year likely indicated to Bergevin and his team that the Habs could probably benefit from not being pounded so much. He is addressing that. Wouldn’t shock me if we saw less injuries this next season to be honest.
Kyle – I like what he did. Being under pressure to make an impression, Bergevin added more grit size and character than Gauthier did in two years without putting the team in cap hell. One year placeholder deals keep players hungry while giving the Habs flexibility. The Bouillon signing leaves me uninspired, but hey, if the “quota” is going to come in to play, I’d prefer it to be for one year and $1 million.
Bergevin now has the depth to start thinking about trades to strengthen the top 6 without having to overpay for a free agent from the weakest class since Gomez signed in New York. We were spared from Parenteau and Latendresse. Let’s pray Semin goes elsewhere, too.
In all, I like the direction of the team. They aren’t much better offensively yet, but if they’re going to make opponents a bit weary and sore, then it’s a step in the right direction.
Sean – The combination of a weak free-agent class, limited cap maneuverability and tempered expectations meant that any moves Bergevin made were going to be depth-moves rather than big-ticket splashes. The last-place Habs are more than one player away from contending for a Stanley Cup and, as a result, chasing Parise, Suter or Semin was always going to be a fools’ errand.
The Habs made a series of intelligent, under-the-radar type moves which pose limited risk while hopefully providing the team with additional grit, size, depth and ‘character’. Colby Armstrong (1 year/$1 million) flamed out in Toronto (who doesn’t?) but, if healthy, should provide a physical presence with a bit of offensive pop. Francis Boullion (1 year/$1.5 million) beefs up the blueline while possibly allowing Bergevin to ship Weber and/or Diaz out of town. Prust (4 years/$10 million) was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his monumental A la recherche de temps perdue. He was also arguably the most sought-after bottom-six forward on the market and should, again, provide the Habs with size, grit and energy. Bergevin appears to be have the foresight to be building a team according to a very specific vision as well as the confidence and wherewithal to stick to that plan. Only time will tell if Bergevin’s master plan will bear fruit, but after years of blowing in the wind under Pierre Gauthier, the initial returns are extremely encouraging.
Cindy – It was an interesting free agency day, and so far it looks like Bergevin is building towards grit and toughness. I’m a little weary about Armstrong. The fact that he hasn’t been healthy in the last two years concerns me. Then again, we did get him for a steal. If it fails, it’s only for a year.
Boullion was a surprise, but it does bring another veteran to a young defense. Prust adds to the 3rd line, I’m liking that there could be consistency and depth in the 3rd and 4th lines, which could be less pressure on the Cole/Pacioretty/Desharnais line (if it’s still a line next season, depending what Therrien has in store). Overall, there’s no smoke and mirrors with Bergevin. He really has given a good impression since he was hired and I’m thinking that there’s more in store.