Expect the Montreal Canadiens to target Chicago Blackhawks assistant GM Marc Bergevin in their search for a new GM.
It’s believed Bergevin is at the top of a short list of candidates that also includes Tampa Bay Lightning assistant GM Julien BriseBois, broadcaster Pierre McGuire and Quebec Remparts owner-GM-coach Patrick Roy.
Bergevin has been with the Blackhawks front office since 2005 and the former Blackhawk defenseman has served in various capacities with the organization, including scout and assistant coach. He’s in his first season as the Blackhawks assistant GM after taking over for Kevin Cheveldayoff when the latter was named GM of the Winnipeg Jets last summer.
Since Bergevin is still under contract to the Blackhawks, the Canadiens would have to receive permission to speak to him about the vacancy. That might not happen until the Blackhawks finish their playoff run, but it’s not unprecedented for an assistant GM to be hired elsewhere while his team is still in the playoffs. The Minnesota Wild hired Chuck Fletcher from the Pittsburgh Penguins when the Penguins were still in the Stanley Cup final in 2009.
Bergevin is a native of Montreal and would be seen as a clear break from the past. During his career he was known as one of the best pranksters in NHL history, but has gained a reputation as a hard working executive with a keen hockey mind.
Roy’s name has naturally surfaced in the conversation, but it might not be as GM. There is speculation surfacing that both Roy and former Colorado Avalanche GM Pierre Lacroix could come to Montreal as a package deal, with Lacroix as GM and Roy as coach.
McGuire, meanwhile, has very little managerial experience at the NHL level, but has developed a network of contacts during his broadcasting career and is close to Canadiens owner and CEO Geoff Molson.
BriseBois is well-known to Canadiens fans from his nine years with the organization where he served as director of legal affairs and director (then vice president) of hockey operations before being hired by the Tampa Bay Lightning as assistant GM in 2010. There is speculation that hiring BriseBois would be an admission by the organization it made a mistake in not hiring him instead of Pierre Gauthier to replace Bob Gainey.