Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin unexpectedly spoke with the media today and provided a few updates on the team while head coach Dominique Ducharme brought out the line blender for practice.
Below is a quick summary of some of the points from Bergevin’s session.
On His Contract Situation
Following a recent report from Larry Brooks of the New York Post that linked him to Los Angeles, Bergevin indicated that he wants to remain with Montreal for next season. It was announced at the beginning of the year that there would be no further updates until the end of the season but this is Montreal and while it shouldn’t be much of an issue at this point, it will linger until it’s addressed one way or another.
Don’t be expecting any quick moves from the Habs as Bergevin said he believes in the current group and isn’t interested in changing things up for the sake of change. He also mentioned that when Price and Byron return off LTIR, they’re going to be in a spot where they need to match money. Cap space doesn’t accrue when a team is using LTIR so what they have to work with when they come back is what they’ll have at the trade deadline as well.
There isn’t much of an update here which is an update in itself. Weber hasn’t undergone any surgeries and it doesn’t appear he will be with the surgeon feeling it won’t really do him any good. Bergevin reiterated his doubt that the captain will be able to return to the ice for next season or for the remainder of his contract.
Edmundson On Leave
While Joel Edmundson has had time to recover from the injury that was expected to keep him out for a couple of weeks, Bergevin indicated that the blueliner is on a leave of absence. His father has cancer and is not doing well. There is no timetable for his return.
Ducharme changed up most of the lines and pairings at practice today as he looks to find a combination to kickstart the attack. The new groups are as follows:
Mike Hoffman – Nick Suzuki – Brendan Gallagher
Jonathan Drouin – Christian Dvorak – Josh Anderson
Tyler Toffoli – Mathieu Perreault – Cole Caufield
Artturi Lehkonen – Jake Evans – Joel Armia
Brett Kulak – Jeff Petry
Ben Chiarot – Chris Wideman
Alexander Romanov – David Savard
Basically, the only line that remains intact is the Dvorak trio which makes sense as they’re the only one who has been a threat most nights so far. Gallagher and Suzuki is a new combination given that Gallagher was with Phillip Danault almost exclusively in the previous two years while Perreault, who hasn’t been a centre in the NHL in years, goes from being a healthy scratch to anchoring the third line. That allows Evans to drop to his old spot on a trio that could have the makings of a shutdown line. Expect to see a lot more balance in terms of ice time as that unit will almost certainly be used more than a typical fourth line.