by PuckStopsHere on 05/02/12 at 02:57 PM ET
Overnight the Montreal Canadiens have announced that Marc Bergevin will be their new general manager. Bergevin satisfies the main criteria for a Habs GM. He is a hockey guy and he speaks French. The second of those points prevented the Habs from hiring the best GM candidates (although they did look into Jim Nill).
Bergevin has been working in the Chicago Blackhawks organization since his retirement. He has been a pro scout, an assistant coach and the director of player personnel. Last summer he became their assistant GM. It is far too early to determine if he has been successful as an assistant GM and he is already getting promoted above that level. His promotion comes because he speaks French. Without that, he wouldn’t be a contender to be a GM anywhere ... at least not yet.
Bergevin has been promoted above his proven ability. Perhaps he will be able to grow into the role of competent GM in the future. There is no clear sign that he is there yet. There is no clear sign that he will ever get there and if he doesn’t Montreal is in trouble in the future.
There are far more proven general manager candidates available. Montreal likely made a mistake by not going with one of them. In a best case the new Habs GM is somebody who will grow into the position. In a worst case they picked somebody who never will be a competent NHL GM. This problem exists because the Montreal Canadiens put speaking a language above hockey knowledge when hiring a GM. Until they change that priority they are unlikely to ever be a top NHL team again.
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