SAN JOSE – Marc Bergevin has every reason in the world to be proud of his hockey club. His moves leading up to Monday’s NHL trade deadline confirmed just how pleased he really is.
The Canadiens’ general manager elected to keep his Eastern Conference leading squad intact, going ahead with a plan to add reinforcements to the mix in the form of defenseman Jeff Petry from Edmonton and forwards Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn from Buffalo. Based on how Michel Therrien’s troops have fared all season long, recruiting depth, according to Bergevin, was the one and only course of action.
“I’m really satisfied with what we did. First of all, I’m really happy with our group and what we’ve done so far this year. To see the way we compete and the way we play, and to see where we are in the standings, it’s great for our players and our coaching staff. I’m proud of them. Today, we brought help,” offered Bergevin, whose club currently sits second in the League’s general standings with 87 points, two points back of the Nashville Predators. “Our goal is still to make the playoffs. As far as I’m concerned, we still don’t have an X next to our name in the standings. That means we haven’t made it yet. But, we’ve put ourselves in a good spot. We brought in a puck-moving defenseman in Petry and we brought in skill and speed up front with Mitchell and Flynn. You also can’t forget Devante [Smith-Pelly] and Jacob [De La Rose], two young players we’ve added recently. That’s five new players we’ve added as of late without moving anybody out.”
That’s not to say that Bergevin didn’t field his fair share of offers, particularly for some of the Canadiens’ top young guns, many of whom have reached incredible heights at this point in their respective careers.
“We got a lot of calls on our young players. We have a very good group of young players and it’s very appealing for other teams, but we’re going to stay the course,” offered Bergevin, whose contingent will go in search of a fifth straight victory when they take on the San Jose Sharks on Monday night at the SAP Center. “We feel that we do have a good team, but we’re trying to be good for years to come, not just one year. I felt today that we didn’t sacrifice much of our future.”
That was something Bergevin stressed time and again once the trade deadline had come and gone. Monday’s moves, said Bergevin, bolster his club’s competitiveness on a number of fronts, particularly within the group itself by creating a measure of “healthy” competition.
“Our coaching staff, especially Michel, always believes that you need to reward players by their performance. Now, here it is. We have some players that can do the job. We brought in skill and speed throughout our lineup. Guys will be rewarded by the way they perform,” explained Bergevin, who sent both Greg Pateryn and Michael Bournival down to the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs on Monday. “It’s a vote of confidence. The way we’ve played so far this year, the way we’ve been winning games and competing hard, I think it’s a credit to our team.”
As for his new charges, Bergevin believes they all bring something good to the table.
“[Oilers general manager] Craig MacTavish and I had been talking about Petry for two months. It was going back and forth. We showed interest early on. The Tampa move [for Braydon Coburn] and the New York move [for Keith Yandle] didn’t make us do anything. We knew what we were looking for. We set the price. At the end of the day, we were able to get the deal done,” confided Bergevin. “With Mitchell and Flynn, both of those players could play both center and wing, so it’s a good option for Michel. He can play them wherever he wants in the lineup. It just gives us more options.”
And, for a team that appears poised to do something very special this season, that’s clearly a key ingredient you can never have enough of.
“At the end of the day, we’re happy with what we got,” concluded Bergevin, reflecting upon one of the more grueling days of the 2014-15 campaign. “Did we miss out? You don’t really miss out because you don’t know what the other team might have been thinking. We’re just really happy with our day.”
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
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