May 25, 2024

Marc Bergevin, former Canadiens general manager, is on the Blue Jackets’ radar as they look for a new general manager, according to Dennis Bernstein of The Fourth Period.

Bergevin, 58, has been in the NHL’s front office for over two decades, having retired from the league in 2004 after 1,191 games played. After seven years with the Blackhawks in scouting, coaching, and front-office positions, he was named the Canadiens’ general manager and executive vice president of hockey operations for the 2012-13 season.

He played with Montreal for nine seasons, leading the team to one of the more unexpected Stanley Cup Final appearances in recent memory in 2021. The wheels came off the Canadiens almost away, and he was sacked in late November 2021 after a 6-15-2 start to the next season. Head coach Dominique Ducharme followed suit, allowing Martin St. Louis to get his first NHL head coaching job.

Bergevin was widely criticized in the last months of his employment with the Montreal Canadiens for selecting defenseman Logan Mailloux with the team’s 2021 first-round choice. Mailloux played in Sweden during his draft year because the Ontario Hockey League halted operations because to the COVID-19 outbreak. During that period, he was accused of defamation and criminal photography for “sending explicit pictures of a sexual act without the consent of his partner.”

 

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Mailloux indicated before to the 2021 draft that he did not wish to be taken, preferring to focus on personal development. Despite the lack of a proper NHL draft renouncing process, the Canadiens selected him. The NHL initially prevented Mailloux from playing in the league after drafting him, but the restriction was removed prior to this season following a meeting with league commissioner Gary Bettman. He spent the majority of the season on loan to AHL Laval, but he made his NHL debut in Montreal’s last game.

Many of Bergevin’s greatest signings as Canadiens GM in terms of total value have not worked out. The biggest of them all, Carey Price’s eight-year, $84 million extension signed in 2017, was worth it for his two electrifying playoff appearances in 2020 and 2021, but he’ll be on Montreal’s books for a little longer than they’d like owing to knee issues. Two contracts inked less than a week apart in 2020 — a six-year, $39 million deal for Brendan Gallagher and a seven-year, $38.5 million pact for Josh Anderson — have saddled current Canadiens GM Kent Hughes with significant cap obligations for injury-prone players who have struggled to meet expectations since signing.

Bergevin has served as a senior advisor to Kings general manager Rob Blake since his firing by the Habs.

Columbus is still looking for a new general manager after sacking longtime manager Jarmo Kekäläinen in February. He was also chastised recently for signing Mike Babcock as head coach in the offseason, after he was sacked by the Maple Leafs in 2019 for poor treatment and alleged verbal abuse. Babcock never coached a game for Columbus, stepping down as head coach at the start of training camp when the NHL and NHLPA launched an investigation into more complaints of inappropriate behavior.

There have been no other known contenders for the Blue Jackets’ GM position. The search is being managed by interim general manager and president of hockey operations John Davidson.

 

 

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