It’s pretty clear now, if Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin says he’s not going to do something, it makes more sense to look at the optics and logic behind a move than to listen to what he actually says. As such, when the extremely active general manager says he’s not going to make a cap clearing trade, take those comments with a grain of salt.
Bergevin said he wouldn’t be making a trade before the deadline unless it was a dollar in, dollar out deal. On Friday, he added Eric Staal and $1.625 million of his salary for two draft picks. He’s now said he doesn’t intend to make cap-clearing moves. Behind closed doors, he’s probably laughing at anyone who believes him.
This is a GM who does the same thing every year at the draft: he trades down and collects picks for the following years draft, then takes those picks and flips them for assets in season. He’s among the most active GMs in the NHL (or at least, he has been over the past number of months.)
Most insiders know that Montreal will likely need to make a move. While Bergevin could get savvy with this salary cap, there’s a lot most in the know expect he’ll do before April 12th comes and goes. TSN’s Frank Seravalli took a look at what’s next for the Canadiens who are tight up against the salary cap. The GM may have little choice but to do something and there are a couple of things that stand out.
Seravalli notes the Canadiens will need to send down a player in order to activate Paul Byron from their taxi squad. From there, he said he “wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the Habs try and make a corresponding move to try and free up some salary cap space.”
One name to watch out of the Habs organization is Cole Caufield. His NCAA season has ended unexpectedly and Seravalli suggests, “He’s another guy the Canadiens may want to add into the mix and they’ll need cap space to do it.” When asked about Caufield being signed, all Bergevin would say was, “Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you in a couple of days.” By the way, he said so with big smile on his face.
Bergevin Can’t Help Himself
If an opportunity presents itself in the next couple of weeks, expect Bergevin to be sniffing around things, regardless of the fact he’s said, “Not at all, we’re too tight against the cap.” This is a GM who spent more money than anyone else in the offseason (a pandemic offseason) to improve his team. Despite all that, the Canadiens aren’t as good as everyone expected they’d be.
Therefore, if he can make the team better, he’ll try and he won’t be afraid to go back on what he says to do so.
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