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Poll of the Week - March 4


Rate the GM  

15 members have voted

  1. 1. What grade would you give Marc Bergevin for his work as GM thus far?

    • A
    • B
    • C
    • D
    • F

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Bergevin has come under a lot of fire lately, partly for his own work and partly for not relieving Therrien of his. Is that criticism deserved or is the GM doing a passable job for someone who has only had two years to do the job? What grade would you give him for his first two years of work?

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Guest habs1952

I guess MB just moved up a notch on everybody's radar. :)

Yup. I just gave him a B. If he does something about Therrien I'll re-evaluate.

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The Vanek deal definitely changes the grade a bit, as it's the first non-lateral (or worse) move. I still see a large problem with the stocking up on 4th liners/7th D men and an even bigger problem with MB not putting the right coach in place (Therrien's decision to bench Eller tonight reinforces that he has to go). If anything, Bergevin showing he wants to make a run this year is even more reason to show Therrien the door and put a better coach in place immediately. Overall, I give Bergevin a C...

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I gave him a D, I see I'm the only one so I guess consensus is that's harsh. I think he's been below average, most of his moves so far have been, IMO, weak. He's likable personally and he hasn't made any disastrous moves so I have some hope that he's learning on the job, getting his feet wet and we'll see him get creative and address some holes on this roster but all I hear is character nonsense and see inferior players gobbling up big minutes on this team while we rely on goaltending to save us.

He inherited a great situation and a very strong core and I think while he's avoided some of the big mistakes that buried his predecessors, he hasn't made any move (until Vanek) IMO that made the team better. Most of his additions have been underwhelming. It's not a firm D, it's mostly an incomplete because he hasn't put his stamp on this team really yet but of the small things he has done, I've disliked a vast majority.

I just want to see some creativity and proactive thinking.

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I went with 'C', as it seems like most people have. But I'd actually like to break it into more categories:

Off-season signings: D

This is where Bergevin has struggled, IMO. He spoke about building through the draft but then went out and got a whole bunch of guys to plug into the holes where our draft picks should have been playing. Bergevin's love of the French language and particularly 'character' is especially detrimental here. If a guy had enough character that it would actually help the team then he isn't going to be floating around the free agent market for a million a year.

In-season trades: A

For all my criticisms of Bergevin he's actually done quite well in his trade decisions. Even in the midst of some decent seasons in the division standings we haven't been out there trading away the future for short-term rental players. Now obviously we did just that for Vanek, but I think that when you look at the quality of the player (and the small chance of re-signing him) versus the quality of the prospect that this was a move worth making. Similarly we got a productive season out of Ryder while at the same time ridding ourselves of Cole's contract (and picking up a pick in the process, no less!). I don't know much about Weaver, but by all accounts he's a solid addition that we basically didn't have to give up anything for. But really, the thing I like about Bergevin is that he doesn't seem to make a trade just for the sake of making a trade. In each case we've been the ones dealing from the position of 'strength', which is exactly what you want. The only trade that he's made that I really didn't like was getting rid of Diaz, but that can probably be chalked up more to my next point...

Understanding the State of the Game/Coaching Decisions: D

This is where Bergevin's heritage/character/grit mantra comes into play. I just get the sense from many of Bergevin's decisions that his mindset is stuck in the past. We've got a lot more statistical tools at our disposal now that all seem to indicate that the best measure for team success is having the puck on your stick a lot. Now I'm not suggesting that Bergevin needs to go full-on Billy Beane and make all of his decisions based on a stat sheet, but he seems to be going the other way and ignoring this stuff completely. It shows in his off-season signings (none of which have really worked out) and it particularly shows in his continuing to support Therrien's decisions as coach. It also shows in the Diaz trade.

With all that said, I understand that it's hard to fire a coach in the middle of a winning season. But sometimes you need to make the hard decisions. It's happened in this league before - in fact it's happened to Therrien himself. I can't imagine that Bergevin will take the initiative to do it, though, since many of his moves point to him being on board with Therrien's train of thought.

Overall: C

So now we're back to the overall grade of C. The good news is that Bergevin has so far shown himself to be a savvy negotiator. The bad news is that I'm not convinced that the players that he's targeting are the right ones. So from what I can see he has the skill set to be a great GM but not the proper direction. Hopefully this is something that he can come around to fixing if given enough time, although it can be pretty tough for someone to change a basic philosophy.

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I'll also go with D for now, but I'm more than willing to upgrade him quickly. He's still a rookie GM, after all. If the offseason moves turn out to be teething and aren't repeated, my assessment will be significantly rosier.

But at the moment, this front office is acting in an incredibly regressive manner that will do nothing but harm the team in the medium/long run. It's hard enough to win in the NHL today without the built-in complications of this market. To have any competitive advantage, we pretty much have to be the most modern and aggressive team around. If any organization needs to think "Safe is Death", it's this one. I'm not a Tortorella fan in the least and I'm not using "his" phrase as any particular endorsement, I just think it's valid in this situation. We can't afford to sign/trade for safe players who won't rock the boat. It's a simple fact that until the team is winning consistently, the younger top tier players will never come here unless we draft them. And with the new lottery rules, that just got harder, too.

And I'm not necessarily talking on-ice style when I say be agressive. I'm still not sure the 90s New Jersey/today's Nashville and Phoenix styles will ever win anything again with the current NHL officiating style. If a compelling argument could be made to build a strict defence-first team based around Price, Subban, and the young forwards, I'd listen to it. But that would require hiring a defensive systems coach—and none of those are from Quebec. That would be an agressive move.

There's a significant chance that Bergevin would've been a better GM elsewhere. I expect him to do much better at his second job, wherever and whenever it is. If he wants to be a GM with anyone but a new team in Quebec City, though, he's going to need to step it up significantly.

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Voted for B

Off-season signings: F Briere, Murray, Boullion have been bad, Subban got signed during the season.

Trades: A Ryder for Cole, Vanek for Collberg, Diaz for Weise all the trade seems to be very good or passable.

Coaching: C Therrien gets a lot of hate, not the best coach but could have been worse.

Overall: B- For a first time GM a B- is respectable.

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I gave him a 'D'. Before the Vanek deal, he was sitting at an 'F' with me. It started with hiring MT as the head coach, and then it just snowballed from there. The moves he made did nothing to improve our team. I was annoyed and irritated by the lack of vision and direction our team had. But now that Vanek is in the house, he gets to move up one grade. I think that Vanek is just a rental and won't be coming back after this season. But if MB can surprise me I would move him up to a 'C'. I still feel the stifling of our youth is a big knock against him.

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Also a D for me but it's still very flexible and a shrewd move or two that shows a change of philosophy could change things since he still hasn't been on the job very long. I guess for me the most important thing is that I haven't seen much in Bergevin's organizational philosophy that makes me very excited. I don't feel like Bergevin quite has a grasp on why the good teams are good, he has done a lot of talking and made decisions in the name of character and size, but doesn't appear to get why it's important or why the good teams are good (hint: the Blackhawks were the 29th tallest team in the NHL, and the Bruins were the 26th heaviest last season; perhaps it isn't size).

There's been good trades and acquisitions, Prust has been great but the contract is still questionable. Weaver was a very astute move, the Cole for Ryder trade was creative and Ryder was a good addition. The Vanek trade was a great example of leveraging value, the Habs were one of the few playoff teams with the space to actually add a big contract and taking advantage of that allowed us to fleece the Islanders all things considered. The Pacioretty signing was excellent and looks to be one of the best bargains in the league.

On to the bad moves, I'll leave out the low hanging fruit in Therrien because I don't think hiring him was a bad move in and of itself with the constraints involved (not his fault the coach needs to be French IMO) but not letting him go this season has basically wasted any momentum the team had and makes it essentially a waste of a year of Pacioretty, Subban, and Price's primes, while Markov is at the age where every year there's a risk he becomes a Kaberle. Then there's Douglas Murray. We have literally structured our entire defence corps around sheltering a guy who is one of the very worst in the league. It's an absolute farce that this has continued. The Sharks and Penguins, two cup contenders, they both had Douglas Murray and let him go. Why are we cementing a guy in the lineup that two of the best teams in the league deemed to be expendable?

Briere was a bad signing and the worst part is it's one that was seen from a mile away. The guy is in his mid 30's with a history of concussions and has been declining for the past few seasons. Those guys usually don't just turn it around. We reached in the first round to take a big forward when there were more talented players available. Diaz was traded away for a 4th liner and then a month later we picked up a guy who is basically just as effective but isn't "soft". We played hardball with the best player this franchise has seen since Roy, constantly throw him under the bus and nobody in the organization goes to bat for him. Juxtaposed with Emelin, who hadn't played a single game since his injury, and was awarded a big contract. It's just baffling and an utter mismanagement of talent.

I just haven't seen anything that says to me that Bergevin gets why the team was so good last season and I don't think he gets how deep the issues this year are. I just don't think the decision making process is sound, was Weaver added because he's a plus possession guy who can handle tough minutes, or because he's a blue collar hard nosed "shutdown" guy? Was Prust brought in because he's a competent top 9 hockey player with defensive value, or was he brought in to be the sheriff? Is Tinordi with the team over Beaulieu because he's the superior defender, or because he's big and fights?

I guess that's what it is for me. I think Bergevin views things like size and grit as a primary thing you need to target when the best teams in the league generally target skill above all else. No team is infallible, the Bruins moved Seguin for Eriksson, and the Blackhawks gave a silly contract to Bickell, but the overall philosophy is about skill and possession. This roster with Vanek is nearly as deep as anyone's, but we're puttering away and winning on the back of a career year from Price because size and grit. It's just so disappointing and it all just smacks of Rick Dudley pulling the strings who I'm not a big fan of.

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I voted C, but if C- was an option I would probably choose that one.

My reasoning is actually almost identical to Manatee's. I've got only a splitting-hairs argument here or there of disagreement.

I feel that it's worth mentioning, I won't complete my evaluation until we see two things, both happening this offseason (although it feels like I say that every year. It will only be MBs 3rd offseason though).

1. How the Subban contract plays out. He's getting big money and long term now. Everyone knows it. How long long-term and how big big-money is makes a big difference though.

2. He still dug himself in a decent hole last offseason. If he can get out of it, or even mostly out of it, he'll move up quite a bit in my book. No GM will go mistake free, but if he can fix his mistakes in a timely manner, then it's harder to get super worried.

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