The NHL trading deadline can be hazardous to ears, left ones in particular.
“I don’t know if you noticed, but my ear is a little red from being on the phone,” joked Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, pointing to the side of his head an hour or so after the 3 p.m. (ET) transaction limit passed.
Though the Habs opted to stand pat in the end, that doesn’t mean Bergevin didn’t rack up the cell phone minutes – he estimated having “five or six” conversations with one of the other teams Wednesday, and said he has touched base with all 29 other teams in recent days.
The Canadiens have six picks among the top 90 in this summer’s amateur draft – including three in the second round – but Bergevin decided it wasn’t worth sacrificing one or more of those choices for the players on offer.
“We want to build this team, not just for this year,” he said. “We have a plan, and it’s to make the Montreal Canadiens a better team for years to come.”
Though Bergevin wouldn’t confirm it, the Habs were reportedly involved in discussions to acquire former Phoenix Coyotes agitator Raffi Torres (who went to San Jose for a third-round pick) and former Sharks winger Ryane Clowe, who moved to the New York Rangers for two second-rounders, one of them conditional, and a third-rounder.
And if the Habs were interested in Buffalo Sabres captain Jason Pominville, shipped to Minnesota for a first-round pick, a second-rounder and two prospects, Bergevin evidently wasn’t interested in giving up the assets required to get him.
After all, the Canadiens lead their division and sit second in the Eastern Conference with the team they have – which will eventually be bolstered by the return of concussion victims Rene Bourque and Raphael Diaz, who both skated on their own on Wednesday.
Though the Habs didn’t make any deals, it doesn’t mean they didn’t make an acquisition.
They signed 2008 draft choice Danny Kristo – a U.S. collegian who was, coincidentally, a second-rounder – to a two-year, entry-level deal.
Kristo will report to the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, and asked if he might eventually see time in Montreal, Bergevin said, “That’s going to be up to him.”
One player who did make his Montreal debut on Wednesday in Philadelphia is Davis Drewiske, a little-used defenceman acquired from Los Angeles for a fifth-rounder on Tuesday.
On the face of it, the stay-at-home Drewiske is an underwhelming addition, but Bergevin said he’s been on Montreal’s radar for some time.
“He’s a player we’ve been watching for a little bit … we did our homework,” he said, adding it’s impossible to have a surplus of defencemen.
“The price was right. I feel like Bob Barker saying that,” he joked.