Canadiens look to build through draft, add picks at trade deadline
Marc Bergevin hopes to build the Montreal Canadiens through the draft and spent the NHL trade deadline collecting picks.
Bergevin made two deals on Monday, sending defenceman Joe Morrow to Winnipeg for a 2018 fourth round pick, while giving up a 2019 fifth rounder to Minnesota for 24-year-old rearguard Mike Reilly.
But the big move came Sunday when he shipped veteran centre Tomas Plekanec and prospect Kyle Baun to the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Kerby Rychel, defenceman Rinat Valiev and a second round pick.
That gave Montreal 10 selections _ including four in second round _ for the draft in Dallas in June.
“We're going to do some things and the goal is to get younger, faster, with character, and that's what we're going to do,” said Bergevin.
The Canadiens can also count on a high first-round pick after a miserable season in which they are all-but certain to miss the playoffs for a second time in three years.
Everyone in the Canadiens management has taken heat for the team's weak performance, with calls for the heads of Bergevin, scouting director Trevor Timmins and others.
But Bergevin gave a vote of confidence to Timmins and said that, after talking to team president and owner Geoff Molson, he is confident he will still be in his job in June.
What he didn't do on deadline day was trade captain Max Pacioretty, the five-time 30-goal scorer who was widely reported to be available. The struggling Pacioretty, who has one year left on a contract paying a relatively modest US$4.5 million per season, has 17 goals this year.
Bergevin said negativity around the team has worn on Pacioretty, but now that the trade deadline has passed, he expects him to pick up his game.
“I think he's frustrated,” said Bergevin. “It's hard to hear your name every day.
“He cares. It affected his game. But I'm confident that in these last 21 games we'll see the real Max.”
If Pacioretty moves on, it will likely happen at the draft. Deadline day is mainly for trading potential unrestricted free agents and depth players, Bergevin said.
Morrow had five goals and 11 points in 38 games for the Canadiens.
The Canadiens see NHL potential in Reilly, a puck-moving defenceman and strong skater. Bergevin said he may have become available because he was stuck behind Jonas Brodin and Ryan Suter on the Minnesota depth chart. He has played 84 NHL games since joining the Wild in 2015-16.
“He's not a slam dunk, but he has potential,” said Bergevin.
His father, Michael J. Reilly, was drafted in the eighth round by the Canadiens in 1977 but he never played an NHL game.