Monday was the Habs’ annual charity golf tournament that also basically kicks off the start of the new season. Here are some of the notable things that were said throughout the day.
Forget Galchenyuk at Centre
Though GM Marc Bergevin has said in the past that he prefers Alex Galchenyuk on the wing, many have expected that he’d change his mind. Instead, Bergevin’s comments were even stronger than usual about him staying there:
“Until further notice Alex will be playing wing. I’ve been here for six years, I’ve seen Alex every day, and at this time centreman is a tough position. It’s demanding. I’m sure as we speak today Alex is not able to play that position every day. And I don’t need 10 more tries, I know he’s not.”
What will be interesting now is to see if Galchenyuk moves back to the left side (where he’d play behind Max Pacioretty) or if they’ll try him on his off-wing as they’ve done at times in recent years on the power play. Head coach Claude Julien noted that he believes that Galchenyuk has the talent to adjust to playing that spot in the lineup.
Andrei Markov’s decision to go to the KHL was a source of frustration for many fans. Speaking with Tony Marinaro on TSN 690, Bergevin stated that Markov was seeking $6 million on a one-year contract and that the team countered with a contract that could be worth up to $5 million if he hit all of his performance bonuses. (The Canadiens could offer bonuses as long as it was a one-year offer.) Markov as we all know opted to go in a different direction (and is off to a nice start with Kazan with seven points in as many games).
Another key player to depart in unrestricted free agency was Alexander Radulov. At the time he signed with Dallas, there was a lot of confusion regarding what offer the team made to the now-Dallas winger and when it happened. Even Radulov during his conference call didn’t seem to be entirely sure. Bergevin noted that the team made Radulov the same offer that the Stars did before Dallas did as well. He added that he was surprised that they lost both key Russians this summer.
While no one really expected the Habs to have more than $8 million in cap space heading into the season, that’s the situation they find themselves in. Bergevin said that there’s not much out there right now and that he’s comfortable heading into the season being that far under the cap. He did add, however, that he’d be willing to take on a bad contract from another team for a high price. That would be one way to add some more assets to the system without hurting their chances of winning right now.
This one wasn’t from the golf tournament but TSN’s interview with Bergevin was also released today. Among the highlights was Bergevin stating that the team feels that 2015 first rounder Noah Juulsen is “very close” to being ready to play in the NHL and that he would get a long look at training camp. Montreal has plenty of defenders contending for the final few spots at camp but the only righties that project to be on the roster opening night are Shea Weber and Jeff Petry. If Juulsen were to make the team, however, one would have to think that one of their current blueliners would be on the move.