A look at Marc Bergevin and his worst signing to date
When the Montreal Canadiens announced on Wednesday that they have signed general manager and executive vice president Marc Bergevin to a contract extension that will keep him with the team through the 2021-2022 season, I was impressed.
As a general manager, he’s doing great. In the last few years, he has locked down core players such as Carey Price, Brendan Gallagher and team captain Max Pacioretty for the foreseeable future. The idea of a Stanley Cup coming to Montreal isn’t as far-fetched as it once was and Bergevin is largely responsible for that.
However, some of Bergevin’s decisions are met with mixed responses, and the signing of free-agent Alexander Semin this past summer was one of them.
The Carolina Hurricanes bought out the last three years of Semin’s contract after he failed to produce for them. In his final season with the Hurricanes, he only put up 19 points in 57 games.
The Habs were hoping that by offering Semin a one year contract worth $1.1 million, they would be able to re-ignite the goal scorer that he once was.
In the 2009-2010 season, Semin put up 40 goals and 49 assists in 73 games and finished the season with a plus 36 rating. He had another decent season the year after, but has been on the decline since.
Some believe that this is because of his age, but I personally don’t think so; Semin isn’t really that old. At 31-years-old, he is only four years older than the league’s current points leader, Patrick Kane.
When you’ve got guys like 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr putting up 17 points in 19 games this year, it just proves that although talented players may slow down with age, they will not stop producing.
The Semin signing is very similar to when the Habs had Thomas Vanek for half a season. The team hoped he would produce and he did in the regular season, but not so much in the playoffs. Vanek then left the team during that offseason.
Semin could be another Vanek-type situation. He could produce a little and move on next year, and by the looks of it that’s what he will do.
You also have to consider players like Dale Weise: a guy who produced only six points in 40 games in his last season with the Canucks, but found a home with the Canadiens. Weise is one of our top players this year and he was clearly worth the risk that Bergevin took when he traded Raphael Diaz for him a few years ago. He didn’t click with Vancouver, but he clearly clicks with Montreal.
That’s just part of being a general manager. You have to acquire players who you hope click and contribute to the team’s success, but not all acquisitions will work out.
So was Bergevin’s idea of signing Semin for a year a terrible one? Absolutely not. Bergevin hoped that it would be another Weise-type signing, but it hasn’t been. It was a risk worth taking that simply didn’t pay off, and Semin will likely move on with his career away from the Habs next year.