The Montreal Canadiens came out of the gate strong this season, looking to avenge falling just short of the postseason a season ago.
They got as far as second place in a tough Atlantic Division, however, the Habs have fallen on tough times of late and some wonder whether or not it might cost their general manager his job. If it doesn’t now, another missed postseason could very well be the end of the GM’s tenure in Montreal.
Canadiens Mired in Slump
After dropping a 6-4 decision to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night, the Canadiens have now lost six straight games. While such a streak isn’t all that uncommon through the 31 teams in an 82-game NHL season, the circumstances surrounding the losing streak are the most concerning aspects.
The row of opponents the Habs have faced in the streak should have provided a soft spot in the schedule. Instead, the Canadiens have lost games to the Devils (twice), Rangers, Senators, Blue Jackets and Bruins. With the exception of the Bruins, all of those teams currently sit on the outside of the playoff picture within the Eastern Conference.
Furthermore, five of the six losses have come on home ice with the lone road loss in that time coming in Columbus against the Blue Jackets.
While the Canadiens remain a strong possession team, that part of their game has been deemed irrelevant due to the fact that Carey Price is enduring some of the worst struggles he has seen throughout his impressie NHL career.
The former Vezina and Hart Trophy winner, Price has allowed five goals in three consecutive games and owns a .797 Sv% in that time. He owns a .822 Sv% in losing five of the Canadiens’ last six games.
Few Results During Lengthy Tenure
Bergevin took over during Price’s heyday in goal, tasked to build an improved offense in support of one of the league’s very best netminders.
Not only has he failed to do that, his team has had little to celebrate during his seven-plus years at the helm.
Hired in May of 2012, Bergevin took over a club that had made the playoffs in six of the previous eight non-lockout seasons. The Habs made the playoffs in the first three seasons of his tenure – thanks in large part to Price – however, they have now missed the playoffs in three of the last four seasons including in each of the last two. In that time, a 4-2 first-round exit at the hands of the Rangers in 2017 was all the postseason success that has come their way.
While the team came out hot to start the season, they’ll now need to find their game in time to remain within arm’s length of the playoff picture. Anything less could very well cost Bergevin his job.
Will GM Marc Bergevin Get Fired? Yes or No?
As an NHL special, the online sportsbook BetOnline has the following odds on whether or not Bergevin will be the Canadiens’ GM by June 30th:
In other words, he’s heavily favored to remains as the Canadiens GM beyond June 30th, which means the club would seemingly want him to oversee operations throughout next season and beyond.
I beg to differ.
For one, there’s no way he can keep his job if the Canadiens miss the postseason for a third straight season. Such happening in the hockey hotbed that is Montreal cost people their jobs, and the fans would be calling for his head at that point.
As a result, this play depends on whether or not you think the Canadiens qualify for the playoffs this season.
You also wonder if another first-round exit helps at all. I don’t think it does. He is currently sitting on more than $8M of cap space at the moment, and failed to land any notable free agents in the offseason while making a laughable attempt at signing restricted free agent Sebastian Aho to an offer sheet.
A team as cash-wealthy as the Montreal Canadiens can obviously spend all the way to the cap, but Bergevin, for whatever reason, decided not to. Jamming yourself against the cap isn’t ideal, but neither is missing the postseason with more than $8M at your disposal while paying an underperforming goaltender more than $10M annually.
To me, the value is easily on the no at +150, and I suggest you follow suit.