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Bergevin: 'The future of the Canadiens is very bright'

General manager Marc Bergevin isn't about to give up key young assets for short-term help

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

MONTREAL - The 2018-19 edition of the Canadiens has certainly impressed general manager Marc Bergevin.

Prior to Monday night's game against the Minnesota Wild, Bergevin met with members of the media at the Bell Centre to share his thoughts on his group's performance so far this season, and expand upon a variety of other topics as well.

"I knew we'd have a better team this season [with the changes that were made], but what I really like is the character. We've come from behind in a lot games. That didn't happen last year. I'm proud of that," praised Bergevin. "Hats off to the players and the coaches. We started at zero and I think we're heading in the right direction."

With that in mind, Bergevin isn't about to make any rash decisions with the trade deadline still six-plus weeks away.

"I'm always going to be listening to options, but the goal is to build for the future. Just to give up assets for the short-term, I'm not going to do it. It would have to be very appealing," explained Bergevin. "If there are young players available, assets have to go. I get that. But, I don't think I'll be in the rental business."

Video: Marc Bergevin's pregame press conference vs. MIN

That's a point Bergevin reiterated on multiple occasions during the 20-minute Q&A session.

After spending time watching seven of the Habs' top prospects play at the World Junior Hockey Championship in British Columbia, he's even more convinced that big things are on the horizon for his club.

"Based on what I saw in Vancouver, the future of the Canadiens is very bright," insisted Bergevin. "I'm not going to start mortgaging the future. I know what's coming with the World Juniors, who they're going to be asking for, and I'm not moving these kids. It's going to be a short conversation, I think… If we drafted these kids, it's because we believe they have some potential. That came to the forefront in Vancouver with our prospects that really stepped up their games."

Admittedly, Bergevin has enjoyed seeing the progress American centerman Ryan Poehling has made over the last calendar year. 

The 20-year-old pivot, who is currently in his junior season at St. Cloud State University (NCAA), earned top forward and tournament MVP honors at the annual event.

"We were lucky to pick him at No. 25 [at the 2017 NHL Draft]. Last year, he had a good championship in Buffalo, but this year he took it to another level. He's closer and closer to turning pro," said Bergevin. "I haven't had the discussion yet, but it should come. We want to let him finish school, and we'll talk to him at the end of the year."

Bergevin on Price

Earlier in the day, the Canadiens announced that goaltender Carey Price would not be heading to San Jose later on this month to participate in the 2019 NHL All-Star Game.

Upon his return from the Lower Mainland, Bergevin met with Price and team doctors to discuss his status for the League's midseason showcase. 

"It was important for me to see what would be best for him short-term and long-term. Based on our discussion, we determined that it was better for him and the organization to take this time to rest," said Bergevin, referencing the lower-body injury that recently forced Price to miss three straight games. "It was a nagging injury, so the time off, especially with the five-day bye week, will help him a lot for the push towards the end of the season."

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Carey Price will not be participating in the 2019 NHL All-Star Game.DETAILS ���

According to Bergevin, Price fully understood and accepted the decision to skip the event in order to heal up.

"He's a big part of our team. We want to be certain. Right now, he's performing well, he's healthy. But, there are things that can always be better with rest," said Bergevin. "That's why we made that decision."

Quick hits

- While Bergevin is a big fan of the way his players have gone about their business on the whole, the play of Tomas Tatar, in particular, has really caught his eye.

"He competes. He never stops. He's always on the puck," said Bergevin, who has seen Tatar register 14 goals and 31 points on the year. "I think he's been pretty good for us."

Video: MTL@FLA: Tatar scores in game's opening minute

- With respect to the health status of Andrew Shaw, who is being treated under the League's concussion protocol, Bergevin wasn't able to put forward a timetable on his return.

"I don't know how long he's going to be out for," said Bergevin. "I don't think it's going to be long, but it could be long. I hope he's back soon."

Video: CAR@MTL: Shaw scores on rush to extend lead

- Bergevin also shared some kind words about just how valuable captain Shea Weber is to the success of the Canadiens night after night.

"When Shea came back, I'd forgotten what it was like to have Shea Weber in the lineup. He'd been gone for such a long time," mentioned Bergevin. "When he came back, I said 'Wow, that's what it's like to have Shea Weber in the lineup.' That was a big piece we'd lost. We're a team that can't afford to lose a player like that for a long time."

Video: NSH@MTL: Weber wires home quick shot through traffic

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