Marc Bergevin refused to comment on his negotiations with Phillip Danault on Thursday during a video conference with the media, but he expressed very clearly his attachment to the Quebec striker.
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There is a long history that links Danault and the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. This dates from 2011. Bergevin felt the need to tell it to journalists during his speech.
“I lived in Chicago [alors qu’il travaillait pour les Blackhawks, NDLR] and I had traveled to Victoriaville several times to go see Phil play, he first mentioned. When we say that QMJHL players are not important to me, this is another example that proves that it is false. ”
Bergevin still remembers an extraordinary play Danault had made at the end of a playoff game that year. As the 2011 draft quickly approached, he campaigned for the Victoriaville Tigres forward with his general manager, Stan Bowman.
“At the time, there was a man named Mark McNeill that I had seen playing in Europe with Team Canada. During one of our meetings, I looked at our list and told our GM that I was a big fan of Danault, that I would place him in front of McNeill, ”explained Bergevin.
However, the Blackhawks’ director of amateur recruiting had argued that McNeill would not be available if they did not use their first selection, the 18th overall, to claim it.
Much to Bergevin’s delight, the “Hawks” were finally able to select Danault with their second pick in the first round, the 26th overall, obtained in a trade with the Washington Capitals.
Soon after, the Tampa Bay Lightning picked Vladislav Namestnikov. Steve Yzerman, the CEO of Florida training at the time, had had the rug pulled from under his feet.
“He saw me and he confessed to me:” We were going to choose [Danault]””, Said Bergevin.
And it is this same Bergevin who, several years later, acquired Danault in a trade with the Blackhawks, this time as GM of the CH.
Do not doubt the respect that the hockey man has for this player.
“There is a long history between Phil and me. If you think I don’t like Phil Danault as a hockey player, then here’s the story, ”said Bergevin.
It is presumed that he will therefore do everything in his power to retain the services of the fiery attacker, who will be able to access complete autonomy at the end of the next season …