Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin believes he can count on a much better team next season, as he has managed to settle his four main priorities.
An assistant goalie, a big defenseman, a power forward and a scorer: these are the four needs the GM believes he has met in the offseason with Jake Allen, Joel Edmundson, Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli.
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“We had four cases to check off and we did it. So we are proud of our [travail], Bergevin said by videoconference on Tuesday. We are satisfied with our team and we are really excited [en vue de] next season. ”
Sacrifice to come
If he managed to do his shopping without sacrificing his hopes or his draft picks to excess, he is however aware of the work that awaits him next summer, with six free agents without compensation and several others with compensation. He might have to face different choices.
“It is certain that the pandemic has affected the market, but in a way, the players are paid less and we have a payroll [qui dicte] things. To take the players, it cost money, and it affects players in other positions, ”he said.
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Without commenting on talks with forward Brendan Gallagher, which were broken off today according to the player’s agent, he offered a response that could raise fears of the worst.
“We must respect the payroll and [on a établi] an amount that will go to each player, and you have to understand that it is not an infinite amount. So we have to be careful and make sacrifices. […] We have no choice, the mass will not move for years. “
“These are players who are important and we would like to keep in Montreal. But for now, it is too early to say how events will unfold. ”
A little bit of luck
Bergevin also explained that the day-to-day unfolding of events made it possible to find the missing pieces of the puzzle. He argued that the decisions of the Carolina Hurricanes and Vancouver Canucks not to keep Joel Edmundson and Tyler Toffoli respectively have been central to recent developments.
“There is a bit of luck in that. Things fell into place and we took advantage of it. ”
Regarding the salary cap, which the Habs do not respect in the current situation, Bergevin indicated that it will be difficult to keep 23 players with the team this season. Trading a striker or ceding players to the Laval Rocket in the American League are possibilities.
He also believes that more and more young players will be able to make their way onto the circuit to help clubs meet the cap.
– Bergevin praised Tyler Toffoli’s experience and flexibility, a few hours after giving him a contract. Toffoli won the Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings in 2014.
– From the start of his virtual press conference on Tuesday, he praised Toffoli’s ability to play both right and left, even though he has mainly worked on the right flank during his career. He also appreciated his ability to play on the power play as well as on the shorthand.