It's been as wild of an off-season as there's ever been in Montreal this summer. The last time a general manager took this much heat for the Habs was when Pierre Gauthier told Mike Cammelleri to pack his bags mid-game versus the Bruins in 2012.
The shocking departure of P.K. Subban still seems unreal to most Montrealers, as G.M. Marc Bergevin's explanation of needing a “culture change” fells on deaf ears after going ahead and signing Alex Radulov of the KHL on July 1st.
Though the team did acquire a terrific defenseman in Shea Weber, the initial feedback from across the hockey spectrum is that the trade has already cemented into the history of the franchise, and not for the right reasons. The initial water-cooler talk among Hab fans was whether this, the Chris Chelios trade, or the Patrick Roy trade were the worst of all-time.
(Fun fact: Chris Chelios was traded from the Canadiens to the Blackhawks 26 years to the day Subban was dealt)
“Bergy” wasn't stagnant at the draft table either, trading away two 2016 second-round picks in exchange for Andrew Shaw (Blackhawks), followed by shipping out Lars Eller and recouping those assets from the Washington Capitals (2017, 2018).
Ignore all the talk, and what do you have? A G.M. and coach who think they now have a team more capable of executing their plan of winning hockey games. And, that's all that matters.
The trade market wasn't the only thing that affected the Canadiens plans heading to September. Picking ninth overall, V.P. of player personnel and director of amateur scouting Trevor Timmins nearly ran to the podium when Windsor Spitfire defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was still on the board for their selection. The consensus potential top D-man down the line has a legitimate shot at making the Montreal roster from day one, as his performance at Habs development camp was one to be remembered.
1st round / 9th overall : Mikhail Sergachev – The man-child was an absolute beast at camp. Measuring in at just over 6-2 and 221 lbs at the NHL combine, the Russian blueliner possesses a complete skill-set that had scouts drooling over his potential. He's a former forward who looks dynamic when he's dangling opponents up-ice, and more often than not shows the composure to hold on to the puck and not make a panic play that jeopardizes his team defensively.
Never one to back down from physical play, Sergachev drives the net with the puck but can also lay that game-changing open-ice hit that riles everybody in the arena right up. A real game-changer at the position, it wouldn't surprise me if he got a few games in with the Habs this year, while a full-time spot is without a doubt on t