Max Pacioretty (Photo by Joel Lemay / Agence QMI)

by Chris G, Digital Radio Producer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

LAVAL, QC. — Over the last week and a half, Marc Bergevin and Geoff Molson both answered questions from the fans on the team’s website as part of their new transparency philosophy. Odd thing is, that as Marc Bergevin is spending time in Europe right now, there are still several unaswered questions regarding the Montreal Canadiens.

Here are my top 5 takes of the week:

      1. Max traded before camp? – There has been several reports that Marc Bergevin informed Max Pacioretty that the Canadiens will not negotiate a contract extension and that they are going to try to trade him as soon as possible. I don’t understand the strategy behind this decision of trying to trade their captain without signing him to a new deal. Marc De Foy, of the Journal de Montreal, reported in his column on Friday that Bergevin ignored Pacioretty for several months last season while the team was struggling. The Canadiens GM spoke about attitude frequently at the end of the season press conference, and if he was ignoring the team captain, what does that say about Bergevin’s attitude? That’s not the attitude that a leader should have. A leader should be there for his troops and help them when they are struggling. Another tidbit of information that we learned was that contrary to previous years, the Canadiens communication team will not take part in Max’s golf tournament at the end of August. Is that a sign that we should expect a trade to be announced by then? In these conditions, that were created by Bergevin himself, it will be hard for the Habs to win a trade involving their captain.
      2. Arbitration avoided  – The Canadiens avoided arbitration with Philip Danault by signing him to a three-year contract at an average $3.083 million salary per season. Danault should be the team’s third-line centre, but if the roster stays as it is right now, he will be the second-line centre behind Jonathan Drouin. I think it’s a good contract signing for a player who can play a shutdown role and on the penalty-kill. He also played on the power-play last season but that is due to the lack of better alternatives. A reminder that Danault was acquired from Chicago with a draft pick that the Canadiens used to draft Alexander Romanov in exchange for Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann. In my opinion, it was a good move by Bergevin and I think we can say that he won that trade regardless of how things play out for Danault.
      3. Galchenyuk vs Domi  – It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or analytics wizard to know that this season, fans will be comparing newly-acquired Max Domi‘s points total to those of former-Hab Alex Galchenyuk. It will probably happen for the rest of their careers. The jury is still out amongst fans and experts on the winner of this trade. In the August 20th edition of The Hockey News, former Minnesota executive,  Tim Thompson provided this analysis of the trade “Let’s stop making excuses for Galchenyuk. [..] He (Domi) will provide a better return as a second-line investment  than Galchenyuk will provide as a first-line investment. […] For a Stanley Cup contender, Domi over Galchenyuk.” Thompson isn’t the first analyst to give the edge to the Canadiens on this trade. Only time will tell on who ends up winning the trade but is this a case where as fans we think too highly of players on the Habs roster?
      4. Billboard campaign – Sixteen-year-old Mattis Pelletier is starting a campaign to collect funds in order to pay for a billboard near the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard to show Carey Price that fans still support him. Pelletier easily achieved his goal to collect $1,500. Stephane Waite mentioned in a radio interview after the end of the season that the Price was affected by the negativity of some fans last season. I think we can all agree that Price didn’t have a good season last year and we all expect him to bounce back this season. If the Canadiens fans are the most knowledgeable fans of hockey, they will cheer for Price when he steps on the ice at the Bell Centre for the home opener on October 11th agains the Los Angeles Kings.
      5. Power Ranking – Several publications have already released power rankings for the upcoming season and no surprise, to me at least, that the you have to start looking from the bottom list to be able to find the Canadiens. There have been changes made during the off-season but none that I think will have a major impact in the upcoming season. I know it’s only July, but I think Habs fans should prepare themselves for a difficult season.

Leave your comments below. I am looking forward to interacting with all of you.