Less than a year after their magical run to the Stanley Cup Final, the Canadiens are making major changes to their hockey operations.
Montreal announced on Sunday that it was replacing its general manager, Marc Bergevin, as well as two other high-ranking members in its front office, including assistant GM Trevor Timmins and senior VP Paul Wilson.
“On behalf of myself and the organization, I wish to thank Marc Bergevin, Trevor Timmins, and Paul Wilson for their passion and engagement towards our Club over the last years,” Canadiens owner Geoff Molson said in a statement. “Their relentless work allowed our fans to experience many memorable moments, including last summer’s playoff run that culminated with the Stanley Cup Final. We wish them all the success they deserve in the pursuit of their careers.”
The Canadiens’ ownership is hopeful that this will turn things around in Montreal. But why did they make these decisions so soon after a Stanley Cup run? Here’s everything you need to know about Montreal’s organizational changes, explained.
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Why did the Canadiens fire Marc Bergevin?
Simply, the Canadiens have failed to live up to expectations this year. They went on a Stanley Cup run during the 2020-21 season despite barely squeaking into the playoffs as the fourth seed in the all-Canada division set up for the shortened season.
The Canadiens won their first three series in the Stanley Cup playoffs despite being underdogs in each series. They made it all the way to the final before the Lightning knocked them out in five games.
Montreal hasn’t been able to recapture the magic to begin the 2021-22 NHL season. The team has struggled out of the gate to start the 2021-22 NHL season and finds itself second-to-last in the Atlantic Division. They had a record of 9-15-2 (14 points) before the firings came in.
Bergevin had been the NHL’s fifth-longest tenured GM before his firing. The Canadiens made six playoff appearances under his watch and made it to just the one Stanley Cup Final. That was enough for Molson to call for a leadership change.
“The time has come for a leadership change within our hockey operations department that will bring a new vision and should allow our fans and partners to continue cheering for a championship team,” Molson said.
Bergevin responded in a statement that he was grateful for his time in Montreal. He expressed gratitude toward Molson, the fans and his team and players as well.
“I am proud of the legacy I’m leaving within the organization,” Bergevin said. “The current team is much better than the results show, and I am convinced that my successors will be able to rise to the challenge.”
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Who will replace Marc Bergevin with the Canadiens?
The Canadiens have hired Jeff Gorton as the Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations with the team. Gorton’s title is a bit different than that of Bergevin, who was the Executive VP and GM, but they are, essentially, operating in the same role in charge of the front office.
Gorton previously served as the Rangers’ GM from 2015 to 2021. New York made the playoffs just three of Gorton’s six seasons in charge of the Rangers and never advanced past the second round of the postseason.
Gorton also served as the interim GM for the Bruins for a few months in 2006. He was responsible for the acquisitions of Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard during that time.
The Canadiens are also going to hire a new GM. A search has already begun for a candidate that speaks both English and French, according to the press release announcing Bergevin’s firing.