The Montreal Canadiens ain't hiring your Grandpappie's GM.
Reports seem to indicate that the beleaguered franchise is intent on flipping the usual front office power structure on its head, according to DailyFaceOff's Frank Seravalli, effectively handing the reins to newly-appointed VP of hockey operations Jeff Gorton, while also hiring a french-speaking GM to handle the outward duties of an executive via communication with the fan base.
It's actually an incredibly shrewd way of skirting around a rule that would've otherwise limited the Habs' search for new leadership – albeit one they enforce upon themselves.
So, with the Marc Bergevin era mercifully over, let's take a look at five candidates who could fill his painfully mediocre shoes.
5. Danielle Goyette
If a winning culture is what you're seeking, look no further than Danielle Goyette.
Goyette is a winner through and through. She wakes up every morning and sweats excellence, baby, having won two Olympic gold medals, eight World Championship gold medals, racked up 218 points in 171 career international games, and served as Canada's flag bearer at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics.
Hired as head coach of the University of Calgary Dinos Women's Hockey Team in 2007 upon her retirement, Goyette proceeded to guide the program to a 213-197 record throughout her time at the helm which included a Canadian Interuniversity Sports Championship in 2011.
Goyette ultimately left the Dinos in May of 2021 to become the director of player development for the Toronto Maple Leafs, albeit not before being Canada West Conference Coach of the Year on her way out. Is there anything she can't do?
Frankly, the Canadiens would be lucky to secure Goyette's services.
Employing the first female GM in NHL history would not only be a great step in demonstrating the positive organizational progress the team promised to install, but would also elevate the ambitions of the franchise by mere presence.
Make it happen.
3/4. Roberto Luongo/Patrick Roy
You say Patrick Roy; I say Roberto Luongo.
Look, Roy is the most popular of the french-speaking former netminders to be considered to take over the reins on the sinking ship in Montreal. But popular doesn't always mean better. I was never popular in high school and look how I turned out.
(Ok, maybe ignore that example)
Still, the last time Roy found himself in an NHL front office, things didn't go too well. After Semyon Varlamov won him a Jack Adams Trophy in 2013-14, Roy saw his Avalanche regress back into the below-average squad all signs painted them as under his watch, before eventually resigning due to philosophical differences with GM and former teammate, Joe Sakic.
Roy, of course, was immediately vindicated for his disagreement on the direction of the team upon his departure, right? Oh, he wasn't? Sakic pretty much began to build the Avalanche into a perennial contender with one of the best collections of elite talent in the entire league right after Roy hit the bricks?
Well that's a fun little factoid, isn't it?
Luongo, on the other hand, is a far more attractive candidate for two main reasons:
1) he's not Patrick Roy and
2) he's actually overseen consistent success at the NHL level.
Luongo currently serves as Bill Zito's assistant down in Florida, having helped build the Panthers into the division contender that they are this season since re-joining the franchise in 2019.
Clearly, Luongo at least has a cursory idea of where the modern game is going. And as a front-facing figure who will primarily deal with the media, there may not be a better person for the job.
2. Daniel Briere
Briere is almost too perfect a fit for what the Canadiens are looking for here.
Optics-wise, the 44-year-old brings the charm of a beloved former Hab of french-Canadian descent who was connected to the franchise throughout practically his entire career, before which he spent all of his Junior days in La Belle Province, and would instantly earn the franchise some PR points it desperately needs after a disastrous past few months.
In terms of his actual credentials, Briere's candidacy holds merit, too.
Upon retirement, Briere cut his teeth as a special advisor to the GM with the Philadelphia Flyers for two seasons before eventually joining the ECHL's Maine Mariners in 2017-18 as the franchise's first-ever VP of hockey operations. In the years since, Briere has only gained more of a controlling interest over the Bruins' ECHL affiliate, becoming Mariner's GM in 2019, and, as of this season, team president.
In a normal front office power structure, Briere's appointment to the Canadiens' GM post might be a tad premature. He's only been at the forefront of professional hockey operations for four years, after all, and his experience doesn't extend past the ECHL.
But the Habs don't have a normal power structure. Briere won't be saddled with the responsibilities of a typical NHL GM and, as a public face and advisor to Gorton, makes a lot of sense.
In terms of former NHep an eye out for Mathieu Darche, too. He currently serves as Tampa Bay's director of hockey operations and many believe he has a legitimate shot at Montreal's gig. He played for the Habs and their former affiliate in Hamilton, so it would be fitting, in a way.
1. Martin Madden Jr.
You know how the Anaheim Ducks have consistently had one of the deepest pools of prospect talent in the entire NHL for the past decade-and-a-half while having established themselves as the industry leader in developing star defensemen?
Yeah, that's all thanks to Martin Madden Jr.
Madden has been with the Ducks in various capacities for the past 14 years, and was recently promoted to assistant GM in 2019 after the Seattle Kraken pursued him heavily for a prominent front-office role when building their management staff.
He's not the flashiest candidate. But he's the best.
According to THN's very own Rachel Doerrie, who is well-versed in the comings and goings of NHL front offices, Madden oversees the Ducks' professional and amateur scouting departments, having played a central hand in turning them into perhaps the best drafting franchise in hockey.
Want to know what team is the worst? That would be the Montreal Canadiens.
Something tells me that Madden will make sure that more than one of his first-round picks from the next eight years will still be with the team by then.
Bergevin couldn't say the same. It's a low bar. But, hey, he set it.
When it comes to serving as a conduit to the french-speaking fanbase, Madden checks all the boxes. His father was a former GM of the Quebec Nordiques. He currently lives in Quebec, having earned his bachelor's degree in engineering at McGill, his MBA in finance at HEC Montreal, and broke into hockey ops as an amateur scout for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL.
This man is as French as it comes.
Given all that, and how his expertise seems to perfectly align with the Canadiens' most glaring organizational flaw, Madden should be priority number one for Habs on their quest for front office stability.