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Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has said this season, another wasted year of his core’s prime, was ‘on me.’Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

A vast quantity of air will be consumed in the next little talking about the Montreal Canadiens. Most of it isn't worth your time – light without much heat.

Confident pronouncements on the team will range from vaguely relevant to conspiratorial-bonkers.

Trade rumours? Best to ignore them for now. Votes of confidence for the head coach? Like the fine print in a car ad, it's a limited-time deal. Conditions are subject to change and the product may not end up exactly as shown.

The Habs' players report for exit interviews and physicals Monday, but the show everyone's waiting to see is general manager Marc Bergevin's post-mortem.

The discerning observer should watch for clues as to how the responsibility for this is parcelled out. It's really the only answer that matters.

Bergevin is big on ephemera like character, and admitted this season he saw failings in this team. A disproportionate amount of energy may be spent addressing them.

So who ends up carrying the can?

Bergevin has said this season, another wasted year of his core's prime, was "on me."

Ownership implies action.

A related and not unsubstantial corollary to the apportioning of blame is whether it is addressed by subtraction (Lars Eller? Tomas Plekanec? David Desharnais?) or addition, or both.

It seems clear he may seek to add players from winning organizations (only one current Hab, Phillip Danault, owns a Stanley Cup ring).

Less clear is whether Bergevin's misgivings will lead to a makeover of his young veteran core.

After Saturday's season finale, winger Max Pacioretty spoke at length about his first year with the "C", and made a heartfelt appeal to keep the band together. "We know what we have in this room."

Any examination of dressing room culture inevitably pauses on defenceman P.K. Subban, he of the outsized personality and megabucks contract. There are rumours Subban will be dangled in trade talks.

Pacioretty flatly denied any rift, likening it to a family "we're not all perfect … but we'll stand together and be here for each other."

Barring a last-minute reversal, coach Michel Therrien will be given a chance to be judged on how he handles a healthy team next fall.

What if an established Francophone head man such as Boston coach Claude Julien or Calgary's Bob Hartley is suddenly unemployed? Watch this space.

Despite Therrien's oft-contested decision-making – 30-goal centre Alex Galchenyuk's ice time was most baffling – the Habs are a better team than this year suggests.

In the Eastern Conference they might even pass for elite, despite obvious flaws – weak up the middle, overly reliant on magnificent netminder Carey Price.

It's often pointed out Price's importance extends beyond his play. His calm settles the team, his gold-medal aura unnerves opponents. He's also good at stopping pucks.

Montreal allowed 47 more goals this year than in 2014-15, most of them at even strength, where they went from the league's top defensive team to 22nd. The Price Effect can't be blamed for everything, but it is real.

Studding the top lines with dangerous offensive players would provide a valuable hedge.

Bergevin took a shot at it last summer, and hoped prospects might signal themselves. His strategy failed, but there is pressure to get it right this time.

In fairness, his moves did boost the goal-scoring total (by exactly two, but an increase is an increase).

Problem is they scored 38 per cent of them in the quarter-season before Price hurt his knee. Scoring needs to be addressed, which is a big ask given a flat salary cap.

Maybe the draft lottery will smile on the Habs.

More likely it will require aggressive general-managering by a man who prefers to let the market come to him.

A year ago next month Bergevin said life isn't a video game, you can't pick up a franchise player by pressing the A button.

It's a decent bet he'll need to repeat himself.

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