With a 16-4-2 mark, general manager Marc Bergevin and the Montreal Canadiens have a three-point cushion over both the New York Rangers (15-7-1) and the Chicago Blackhawks (14-6-3) for the league lead in points, with a game in hand on each team.
It has been said that Canadiens are ‘all in’ this season. During a larger conversation Tuesday morning on Montreal’s TSN 690 on the success of the team this season, NHL Insider Darren Dreger was asked what ‘all in’ actually means.
“Good question,” replied Dreger. “I mean, every general manager that has done the work that Bergevin has had to do to address concerns, weakness, whatnot has to believe that they’re a Stanley Cup contender. Especially when they’ve got the goaltending they have in Carey Price. And frankly, that window might be closing. Not on the play of Carey Price, but contractually we’re going to start talking about that sooner than later. And how do you win a Stanley Cup? Well, your goaltending has to be all-world. And they know they have that. So maybe that’s what it means – ‘all in.’
“Again, some of the areas that we’ve talked about that might be perceived as weakness – they might leap off the page, or off the ice, when Bergevin is watching a game. And there’s only so much you can do in-season. We know that. Centers are almost never available. Good defense are almost never available, unless you want to absolutely mortgage your future, give away top assets and all of that to acquire them. And even then, that doesn’t happen until you get to the trade deadline.
“So I think he’s open to interest, but I don’t get the sense from managers that I’m talking to that he’s kicking down doors looking for players.”
One potential reference point for the ‘all in’ comment may have been last week’s appearance on NHL Network by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
During a discussion on the overall trade market, he offered this:
“I think one of the more interesting teams is going to be Montreal,” speculated Friedman on Nov. 22. “They’re a team that clearly is in the playoffs. I think they see themselves as kind of being in ‘go for it’ mode. We’ve talked in the past about them being interested in getting another defenseman. I think there’s more. I think they’re looking at potential forwards too. I think they’re one of the teams that’s definitely interested in Martin Hanzal from Arizona if the Coyotes do decide to make that move. I see the Canadiens as a team that are kind of all in, and I think they’re going to see what they can look to add somewhere down the line to make themselves better. And Marc Bergevin is a guy, if you look at his history – he likes to try and act early.”
For reference: Covering the Insiders