On Monday, Canadiens owner Geoff Molson met with the media to discuss the firings of Marc Bergevin and Trevor Timmins plus the hiring of Jeff Gorton. Here are some notable tidbits from that discussion.
No More Firings (for now, at least)
Don’t expect to see any other departures from the front office, at least for the time being. Gorton and his team, it appears, will take some time to evaluate the remainder of the group and will make changes if necessary at a later time. Molson also indicated that the new management team will have the ability to change the coaching staff if they so desire.
Long-Term Deal for Gorton
While the initial announcement from the Habs may have implied that Gorton was added primarily to aid in the search for a new GM, Molson clarified that Gorton received a long-term contract and will be a critical part of the new management team, working in tandem with whoever gets named as Bergevin’s replacement. The presidency title will remain with Molson, however.
If Molson has his way, the GM search will be a quick one. While he allowed for the possibility that it could extend into the offseason (similar to the searches in Anaheim and Chicago), Molson indicated that his preference is “the sooner, the better” when it comes to hiring a new GM. No requests to speak with executives on other teams have been made yet. The new GM may not have any prior experience in that role.
The ‘R’ Word
One of the many questions about Molson over the years is whether or not he’d be open to a larger-scale rebuild. He stated that “he’s not afraid of that word” although it will ultimately be up to Gorton and the new GM to decide whether or not they need to go that route.
Drafting and Development
If you were wondering why Timmins was included in the list of departures on Sunday, Molson emphasized that Montreal’s recent struggles in terms of both drafting and development led to that change there. In particular, he highlighted that two of their three top-10 selections haven’t lived up to expectations. (Those are Alex Galchenyuk, Mikhail Sergachev, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi. You can probably figure out which two he was referring to.) He also indicated that the controversial decision to draft Logan Mailloux did not factor into his decision.
Molson indicated that they will be adding a medical team to focus on the mental health of players. With Jonathan Drouin and Carey Price taking leaves on that front in 2021, that likely played a role in that decision. He also added that there will be an emphasis on “diversity and support” in their hires moving forward.
The discussions with Gorton started about 10 days ago with word leaking out only when he had agreed to take the job. Molson wanted to wait for Bergevin to recover from his bout with COVID-19 before letting him know that he was being let go.