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Grade Marc Bergevin's first year


dlbalr
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Do you mean a Hab rookie? Because Kovalev had 84 in 07-08. Wasn't that long ago.

Galchenyuk has the highest ceiling for a forward we have drafted since Lafleur. I truly believe that. Higher than Koivu, Richer, Naslund, Shutt. That doesn't mean he'll hit it but he's about the closest thing to a franchise forward we've seen in a long long time. If he stays healthy, keeps developing properly and gets good support, I don't see how it's any stretch to see 80 point seasons out of him. These days less than 10 players even hit the 80 point total but I can see him doing it.

I'm not saying it's a stretch that he'll ever get there. I'm saying it's a stretch that he gets 80 in the next two seasons on a team built to spread the offence around and have three lines capable of scoring. Heck, I doubt he hits the front line until his third year (I figure he'll be moved up to more of a 2nd line role sometime this coming year as they'll continue to ease him in). There's no doubting his talents, I just don't think he'll get the ice time required to reach that mark in the next couple of seasons.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hiring of Michel Therrien- great choice I was no happy when the decision was made but he had a great first year save the playoffs. That said I would have hired Alain Vingeault this summer and either asked Therrien to stay as assistant or told him to not let the door hit him on the way out.

- Hiring of Sylvain Lefebvre, Donald Dufresne, and Vincent Riendeau as Hamilton's coaching staff- well they were a young team so not much was expected, and the players that did come up were able to mesh well with the new Habs system quite well. That said I hope we see some vast improvement this year especially in terms of helping the offensive players thrive and dominate in Hamilton.

- Signings of Brandon Prust, Francis Bouillon, and Colby Armstrong - all three sigining helped, I'm no fan of Frank but he had an alright year, he is just way to weak and small to play against big forwards that drive the net. Prust I love and hes worth every penny and Colby is a great locker room guy that will be missed for sure.

- The Cole-Ryder swap this was one of the steals of the year in the NHL

- the DD signing - not looking great right now but lots of time to turn it around or unload him in a trade

- The PK signing was a mistake I would have an did argue to give him the 8 years last year to save some money but as long as PK is winning Norris trophy's and scoring at a great clip I wont care his cap hit.

All in all the Habs made the playoffs so anything less this year will be regression, so far not a fan of the Briere signing because no other moves have been made to get rid of small players or players who play small.

But on last year i'd have to give him a B+ he did some positive work but not perfect.

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  • 2 weeks later...

With the offer Bogasian just got, what will Subban be looking for next year? Is it still looking like a good move to play hardball with PK this year?? I didn't think so then and sure the hell don't think so now.

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Not to be a stickler (and this isn't a response to anyone's posts in particular) but Bergevin's first year technically ended at the end of the playoffs...

New thread for 2nd year grading?

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With the offer Bogasian just got, what will Subban be looking for next year? Is it still looking like a good move to play hardball with PK this year?? I didn't think so then and sure the hell don't think so now.

Playing hardball was a mistake - but in fairness, it's a mistake that has to be put into context. MB wanted to show that he could not be pushed around by players and agents, setting an important precedent for his reign that should benefit us in future negotiations; and he wanted to establish the important principle that RFA contracts will be treated as categorically different from UFA contracts by this organization. Both principles are important to a sound operation, and their soundness needs to be borne in mind when assessing MB's decision.

Here's the trouble. Whether through a quirk of bad timing or of his own judgement, MB ended up using as his "test case" exactly the case that should have been the *exception* to the rule. PK was and is a special player, and you are right that when you have a chance to lock up such a player at a cut rate, you take it. I think this is a situation where we suffered for having a new GM in place who didn't want to start his regime by "making an exception" to generally sound principles.

We may also have been disadvantaged in another sense. A lot of people around the league have (or had) doubts about Subban's "character." Therrien was on record as being agitated about PK's exuberant nature. Apart from the calculations above, Bergevin may have allowed these considerations to influence his decision. "We don't want to lock up a 'problem' player for five years...let him prove himself." If so, that's another example of MB's newness hurting us. I'm sure that, having seen PK close up, he now knows better.

And although there may be something to be said for not damaging a player's development by over-rewarding him too early in his career (c.f. Phaneuf), it's hard to believe that the Subban we saw last year would have been that damaged by a long-term contract.

All that said, someone on this board pointed out that what we should really want is to have all of our players fairly paid: no overpayments, no underpayments. There's something to be said for that. If we lock up PK for $8 mil, we're no worse off than any other organization that locks up its superstars. Not the end of the world - or shouldn't be.

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I wish we didn't have to pay PK 8 million. Not many players are worth that cap hit. Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin, and a few others. I don't think Getlzaf and Perry are worth that much, and I'm not yet sure if PK is. Will he ever score 75+ points like Karlsson? Be a defensive force like Chara? Play yeoman's minutes on a cup-winner like Keith? We don't know yet, but none of these guys make 8 million.

We often comment on the racism apparent in attitudes towards PK within the hockey community, and I wonder how much of it extends within our own organization, and even the dressing room. Why was he viewed as such a high-risk asset?

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Why was he viewed as such a high-risk asset?

I'm a huge PK fan and even I know he slew foots, will mouth off to every player on the ice regardless of what team they play for, will throw dangerous checks with intent to injure and plays aggressive enough in practice to get in fights with his own teammates. These are the sort of things that are looked down upon by sports athletes (and not, you know, hazing rituals) so to old school guys like Therrien and Bergevin, they likely looked at Subban as a possible headcase for the organization. There's nothing racist about that at all. However, Subban proved through the contract negotiation and how he played through the season this wasn't true.

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Not sure if anyone else has mentioned it yet - as I'm lazy and haven't read through the thread's entirety - but the decision to cut ties with Pierre Groulx and bring in veteran Stephane Waite as his replacement is worth mentioning. While I understand Bergevin kept Groulx at Price's request, he may have done so to avoid rustling the netminder's feathers.

It was clear that Bergevin wanted to bring in his own team to help manage and develop the team, keeping Groulx around went against this strategy. In hindsight, I wouldn't be surprised if Bergevin regrets standing pat. That said, the intentions were candid and confidence in the GM was reinforced when he snagged Waite from Chicago.

It's clear Marc Bergevin isn't afraid to take action and make the changes necessary to benefit both the club as a whole, and the players individually. Whatever his grade after this season, I have a feeling it will improve in seasons to follow.

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Not sure if anyone else has mentioned it yet - as I'm lazy and haven't read through the thread's entirety - but the decision to cut ties with Pierre Groulx and bring in veteran Stephane Waite as his replacement is worth mentioning. While I understand Bergevin kept Groulx at Price's request, he may have done so to avoid rustling the netminder's feathers.

It was clear that Bergevin wanted to bring in his own team to help manage and develop the team, keeping Groulx around went against this strategy. In hindsight, I wouldn't be surprised if Bergevin regrets standing pat. That said, the intentions were candid and confidence in the GM was reinforced when he snagged Waite from Chicago.

It's clear Marc Bergevin isn't afraid to take action and make the changes necessary to benefit both the club as a whole, and the players individually. Whatever his grade after this season, I have a feeling it will improve in seasons to follow.

By the way, my friend ended up getting a wifebeater of the Violent Gentlemen: Enforce Montreal. He now has French versions of the shirt as well. A good touch.

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Playing hardball was a mistake - but in fairness, it's a mistake that has to be put into context. MB wanted to show that he could not be pushed around by players and agents, setting an important precedent for his reign that should benefit us in future negotiations; and he wanted to establish the important principle that RFA contracts will be treated as categorically different from UFA contracts by this organization. Both principles are important to a sound operation, and their soundness needs to be borne in mind when assessing MB's decision.

Here's the trouble. Whether through a quirk of bad timing or of his own judgement, MB ended up using as his "test case" exactly the case that should have been the *exception* to the rule. PK was and is a special player, and you are right that when you have a chance to lock up such a player at a cut rate, you take it. I think this is a situation where we suffered for having a new GM in place who didn't want to start his regime by "making an exception" to generally sound principles.

We may also have been disadvantaged in another sense. A lot of people around the league have (or had) doubts about Subban's "character." Therrien was on record as being agitated about PK's exuberant nature. Apart from the calculations above, Bergevin may have allowed these considerations to influence his decision. "We don't want to lock up a 'problem' player for five years...let him prove himself." If so, that's another example of MB's newness hurting us. I'm sure that, having seen PK close up, he now knows better.

And although there may be something to be said for not damaging a player's development by over-rewarding him too early in his career (c.f. Phaneuf), it's hard to believe that the Subban we saw last year would have been that damaged by a long-term contract.

All that said, someone on this board pointed out that what we should really want is to have all of our players fairly paid: no overpayments, no underpayments. There's something to be said for that. If we lock up PK for $8 mil, we're no worse off than any other organization that locks up its superstars. Not the end of the world - or shouldn't be.

I agree about the importance of setting a precedence with respect to the handling of RFA contracts differently than UFA contracts. As Brian mentioned earlier, having that bridge contract system makes a ton of sense when considering the cyclic structure of player contracts over the course of their 15+ year careers. Maybe it isn't extremely intuitive on a year by year basis, as illustrated by the potential savings the team could have secured had they signed PK for 5 or 6 mil annually for a slightly longer term, but overall the bridge contract concept is an important one in managing a sustainable contract structure over the long term.

Now, maybe making PK an exception would have been worth it as you say, because there would have been significant cap savings over the next (hypothetical) 8 years, but I think there's a point to be made in the other direction. If Subban's play remains at an elevated level, which we hope is the case, and he's regularly in the Norris discussion, Bergevin can point to PK as a precedent in each subsequent RFA negotiation without being laughed at for suggesting a bridge contract. Had PK had even a mediocre season after his holdout, the next hot shot RFA coming off his entry level deal could have brushed that consideration aside. Considering that PK was not a can't-miss elite defenseman at the time of his negotation, I agree completely with the way Bergevin handled it. Hindsight is a bitch in this case, but there was also the possibility of PK being the next Rusty Olesz.

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By the way, my friend ended up getting a wifebeater of the Violent Gentlemen: Enforce Montreal. He now has French versions of the shirt as well. A good touch.

Nice! I picked up just the one pictured here, the white on black Violent Gentlemen. Love it. Shipping was a bit pricey though.

Seb and Psycing? Is this HWL?

Is that still going?

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I agree about the importance of setting a precedence with respect to the handling of RFA contracts differently than UFA contracts. As Brian mentioned earlier, having that bridge contract system makes a ton of sense when considering the cyclic structure of player contracts over the course of their 15+ year careers. Maybe it isn't extremely intuitive on a year by year basis, as illustrated by the potential savings the team could have secured had they signed PK for 5 or 6 mil annually for a slightly longer term, but overall the bridge contract concept is an important one in managing a sustainable contract structure over the long term.

Now, maybe making PK an exception would have been worth it as you say, because there would have been significant cap savings over the next (hypothetical) 8 years, but I think there's a point to be made in the other direction. If Subban's play remains at an elevated level, which we hope is the case, and he's regularly in the Norris discussion, Bergevin can point to PK as a precedent in each subsequent RFA negotiation without being laughed at for suggesting a bridge contract. Had PK had even a mediocre season after his holdout, the next hot shot RFA coming off his entry level deal could have brushed that consideration aside. Considering that PK was not a can't-miss elite defenseman at the time of his negotation, I agree completely with the way Bergevin handled it. Hindsight is a bitch in this case, but there was also the possibility of PK being the next Rusty Olesz.

This is where we disagree. He was already our best player, by far.

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Since this thread seems to be shifting largely to discussing the PK bridge deal.

Its pretty obvious to see in hindsight that the bridge deal was a mistake and we could have saved about 2 million in cap hit for 5-6 years but at the time I remember a lot of people being happy with MB for not giving into the pressure and giving PK what at the time was perceived as BIG money and term for such a young player. Even though a lot of people, myself included though that PK would one day win a Norris I don't think anybody thought it would happen quite so soon. You could also argue that the bridge deal could have given PK and extra incentive to work hard and prove himself.

So for me the question is now when do you start the negotiations on the next contract? Should MB try and sign him asap to avoid potential offer sheets and the general inflation that occurs as more and more precedents are set (which are often viewed as over payments) or should he wait until next summer and take an extended look at PK to see if he maintains the developmental and production pace of last season? Also have to factor in that he is at as high a value point as possible having just won the Norris.

IMHO I would try and sign PK sooner rather then later. It shows good faith and confidence in him from the organisation and is a reward for being a team player and accepting the bridge deal. I think if we sign him as soon as this summer we could get him for 7-7.5 over and 8 years deal but if he has another year like last season even if he doesn't win the Norris again I think his deal could go north of 8 mill per, especially with the danger of an offer sheet. On the other hand, I don't really see his eventual contract value going any lower than 7 mill per even if he does have some decline in point production from last year or sustains a long term injury.

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Even if PK's play slips next season, it won't make the slightest lick of difference to his next contract. He will be paid like a Norris-winning superstar no matter what, because if we don't make with the $8 mil, some other team will. That is 100% guaranteed.

Therefore, show your good faith and open early negotiations, make him the cornerstone for the next decade, he's happy and committed, we're happy and basking in the best player we've developed since God knows when.

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Even if PK's play slips next season, it won't make the slightest lick of difference to his next contract. He will be paid like a Norris-winning superstar no matter what, because if we don't make with the $8 mil, some other team will. That is 100% guaranteed.

Therefore, show your good faith and open early negotiations, make him the cornerstone for the next decade, he's happy and committed, we're happy and basking in the best player we've developed since God knows when.

Well... maybe. I think compensation for anything between $6.7M and $8.4M is two first round picks, a second and a third. And if he's asking for more than that, a team would have to cough up four first round draft picks. How many teams would be willing to give two first rounders up after seeing Toronto do that for Kessel and missing out on a second overall forward and a ninth overall?

Top five most expensive blueliners by cap hit:

1. Shea Weber ($7.8M per season)

2. Ryan Suter ($7.5M per season)

3. Brian Campbell ($7.1M per season)

4. Drew Doughty ($7M per season)

5. Zdeno Chara ($6.9M per season)

Campbell and Suter were free agency signings so their price is based on free market. Weber signed $300K more than what he got in arbitration but it was also an offer sheet from the Flyers he signed. Doughty is actually comparable in age to Subban while Chara is a veteran who signed a cap friendly deal for the team he plays captain for. If we're lucky we can convince Subban to sign something similar to what Karlsson signed in Ottawa with a $6.5M cap hit. The year after this season Letang would slide into number three making $7.25M per season.

I guess I can see three different scenarios:

1. Subban shows his loyalty by signing between $6.5M and $7M similar to Karlsson's contract.

2. Subban's agent and Bergevin come to a compromise and have Subban paid $7.6M to show he's the second highest paid defenceman in the league.

3. Subban forces Bergevin's hand due to the bridge and makes him the highest paid defenceman in the league at a $8M cap hit.

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This is where we disagree. He was already our best player, by far.

Fair enough. I'd say he was "best defenseman on the team at the time based on his second half play and likely to be the best defenseman on the team as long as his attitude doesn't interfere" level of good. IMO, a bridge deal for that kind of player is a prudent move, I think. Not to mention he was the best player on the third worst team. But I've always been high on PK and am really happy to see him succeed. I have no problem with him signing a deal with a ~7.5 AAV any time now.

Well... maybe. I think compensation for anything between $6.7M and $8.4M is two first round picks, a second and a third. And if he's asking for more than that, a team would have to cough up four first round draft picks. How many teams would be willing to give two first rounders up after seeing Toronto do that for Kessel and missing out on a second overall forward and a ninth overall?

Top five most expensive blueliners by cap hit:

1. Shea Weber ($7.8M per season)

2. Ryan Suter ($7.5M per season)

3. Brian Campbell ($7.1M per season)

4. Drew Doughty ($7M per season)

5. Zdeno Chara ($6.9M per season)

Campbell and Suter were free agency signings so their price is based on free market. Weber signed $300K more than what he got in arbitration but it was also an offer sheet from the Flyers he signed. Doughty is actually comparable in age to Subban while Chara is a veteran who signed a cap friendly deal for the team he plays captain for. If we're lucky we can convince Subban to sign something similar to what Karlsson signed in Ottawa with a $6.5M cap hit. The year after this season Letang would slide into number three making $7.25M per season.

I guess I can see three different scenarios:

1. Subban shows his loyalty by signing between $6.5M and $7M similar to Karlsson's contract.

2. Subban's agent and Bergevin come to a compromise and have Subban paid $7.6M to show he's the second highest paid defenceman in the league.

3. Subban forces Bergevin's hand due to the bridge and makes him the highest paid defenceman in the league at a $8M cap hit.

haha $7.6 would be cool, just to be like Crosby and his $8.7.

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I enjoyed the article as well.

It would be great if PK settled for a more cap friendly deal that allowed the team more flexibility down the road. However, no matter what he signs for he will deserve it. Even if its 8 mill per for 8 years I'm sure it will be looked at as a affordable deal in the final 4 years.

When he signs the new contract it will say a lot about MB's negotiation skills, to see if he really sold PK on the bridge deal and did a good job maintaining the relationship or if he played hardball and forced it on him.

One tactic I would like to see the Habs use as one of the richest organizations in the NHL would be to reduce the annual cap hit by offering roughly half the contract value as a signing bonus. As far as I understand, the cap hit is the average annual value of the contract. 8 years at 7 mill per is a 56 million dollar contract and the only way I really see him signing at that price is if there is a bunch of the cash up front, say a 26 million signing bonus. That way we could save 0.5 - 1 million off the cap for the next 8 seasons.

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One tactic I would like to see the Habs use as one of the richest organizations in the NHL would be to reduce the annual cap hit by offering roughly half the contract value as a signing bonus. As far as I understand, the cap hit is the average annual value of the contract. 8 years at 7 mill per is a 56 million dollar contract and the only way I really see him signing at that price is if there is a bunch of the cash up front, say a 26 million signing bonus. That way we could save 0.5 - 1 million off the cap for the next 8 seasons.

You can't have a $26 M signing bonus. Total compensation (salary plus signing bonus) cannot exceed 20% of the cap in any given season. There are also new rules in place that make it harder to do 'back-diving contracts' which this would obviously be (with ~45% of the compensation in Year 1) - year-to-year variability cannot exceed 35% plus or minus the year one value of the contract, plus the cheapest year of the deal can't be lower than half of the year one value.

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I'm a huge PK fan and even I know he slew foots, will mouth off to every player on the ice regardless of what team they play for, will throw dangerous checks with intent to injure and plays aggressive enough in practice to get in fights with his own teammates. These are the sort of things that are looked down upon by sports athletes (and not, you know, hazing rituals) so to old school guys like Therrien and Bergevin, they likely looked at Subban as a possible headcase for the organization. There's nothing racist about that at all. However, Subban proved through the contract negotiation and how he played through the season this wasn't true.

You're right that it's probably mostly an old-school versus new-school thing, but I have to think that race added to what would have been a mild reputation. The same sort of thing happened to Europeans a decade or two ago (and is still happening to a certain extent now). If PK looked like Mike Richards would there have been any (or as much) hesitation to lock him up long term?

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