NHL Rumor Mill – October 21, 2021

by | Oct 21, 2021 | Rumors | 39 comments

Growing speculation over Marc Bergevin’s future as Canadiens general manager plus updates on Vitali Kravtsov and Dylan Strome in today’s NHL rumor mill.


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Marc Bergevin said in a “perfect world” he’d like to remain general manager of the Canadiens beyond this season during an impromptu press conference. He’s in the final year of his contract. The lack of details regarding an extension is generating speculation over his future.

Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin (NHL.com).

Stu Cowan believes Bergevin’s answer makes it look like money and/or term are the sticking points in his talks with Canadiens owner and president Geoff Molson. “It also makes it look like he won’t be back in Montreal next year,” said Cowan.

A recent report by the New York Post’s Larry Brooks suggested Bergevin could join the Los Angeles Kings next summer. Despite his apparent lame-duck status, Bergevin insists he remains in charge and as always will run significant decisions by Molson. The club has declined to comment on his contract status.

THE SCORE: Kayla Douglas noted Bergevin doesn’t intend to shake up his struggling roster simply for the sake of doing so. “I don’t feel the need. It has nothing to do with cap space, it has to do with the group we have,” he said. The Habs GM felt they have some “pretty good hockey players that aren’t playing up to their potential.”

TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos recently noted there are rumors claiming Molson has tabbed Patrick Roy as a potential replacement for Bergevin. He also pointed out Bergevin reportedly had a chance to re-sign with the Canadiens this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were reports this summer of Molson tabling a contract offer to Bergevin but negotiations didn’t get too far after that. The Canadiens 0-4-0 start only fueled the conjecture over Bergevin’s future and the possibility he could be replaced. His recent comments, however, should put to rest talk that he was growing weary of life in the Montreal fishbowl.

Bergevin’s future will remain a hot topic if the Canadiens continue to struggle this season. Even if they right the ship and become a playoff contender, questions about his future (and speculation over his potential successor) will continue to surface in the media.


THE ATHLETIC: On Tuesday, Arthur Staple reported Vitali Kravtsov remains in Russia, unwilling to return to North America unless the New York Rangers trade him, according to two league sources. The cause of the dispute is said to be Kravtsov butting heads with Rangers GM Chris Drury since their time with the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford two years ago.

Staple said sources indicate a few NHL teams have inquired about Kravtsov, more to get an understanding of the situation than to inquire about the Rangers’ asking price. A move doesn’t appear imminent.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks cites a source claiming the real reason Kravtsov wants out isn’t because of his relationship with Drury. Instead, he believes he won’t crack the roster because of the Rangers’ forward depth.

Brooks reports a handful of teams have expressed “lukewarm interest” in Kravtsov but there aren’t any offers on the table. The Rangers, meanwhile, were contacted by the Chicago Blackhawks about Dylan Strome (younger brother of Blueshirts center Ryan Strome) but Brooks doesn’t link that to Kravtsov’s situation.

SPORTSNET 590’s Nick Kypreos reported as many as 15 teams have inquired about Kravtsov. Among them are the Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regardless of the winger’s reason for wanting out of New York, it doesn’t appear a trade is coming in the near future. However, that could change with one phone call by an interested club.

The asking price for Kravtsov could be a second-round pick. He also carries an affordable $925K cap hit for this season. That would in part explain the interest from teams with limited cap space (Flames, Jets) and rebuilding clubs like the Senators.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope believes the struggling Blackhawks aren’t doing themselves or Dylan Strome any favors by keeping him out of the lineup. He felt it could also hurt his trade value, though his exclusion from the lineup could be to avoid an injury while trade discussions are taking place.

Pope said the Anaheim Ducks have long had an interest in Strome as a young playmaker who could help their rebuild. The Senators were linked to the 23-year-old center, while the Canadiens, Rangers and Minnesota Wild all need help at center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keeping Strome on the sidelines to avoid an injury that could derail trade talks makes sense. However, interested parties could prefer scouting his performance in game action before committing to a deal.

We know the Rangers made an inquiry thanks to Larry Brooks’ aforementioned report. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch recently reported the Senators kicked tires on Strome this summer but he felt they’ve since moved on. No indication thus far if the Ducks, Canadiens and Wild are seriously pursuing Strome.


  1. Cowen, Brooks and Traikos push rumors that don’t really stand up,to facts on the ground.

    GMs like to hire their own people and Bergevin gave 3 yr extensions to the entire Hab coaching staff and then proceeded to hire and give 3 year contracts to the Laval Rocket coaching staff.

    Anything is possible of course but it looks more like solidifying his presence than preparing to leave.

    • Regardless of what those clowns are sayin….should Bergevin continue his reign? And what about the fact of a hockey guy, MB have to run decisions by the pres and owner, Molsen?

      The league has a long list of teams that suffered long and hard with this dynamic.

      I hope this isn’t seen as an attack but a talking point since the Habs, a team know to be “perennial cup contenders” have been reduced to being a bubble team at best?

      • “And what about the fact of a hockey guy, MB have to run decisions by the pres and owner, Molsen?”

        I didn’t mention Molson but since you have, why would he saddle a “new GM” with 3 year contracts for NHL and AHL coaching staffs.?

        Molson has been a responsible owner, supportive of the GM, building the farm, building training facilities, building the Bell Center (no public funding), builds rinks throughout Quebec yearly, charity events etc.

        Like I said anything is possible but he certainly appears to be acting like a guy who’s staying and a guy Molson wants to keep.

      • Every GM runs big decisions by the owner. If someone was gonna spend $50M of your money, would you want the final say? Of course your would.
        If they are going to trade a high end, high paid player, yep same thing.
        I don’t care what the company is, there are levels of authority for big changes or expenditures.
        The NHL is no different.

        The question is does he come down and tell MB what to do or does he simply have the final approval or denial?
        If it is the former, then why does he have a GM. If he over rides him all the time it won’t work either. My guess is MB gets the majority of what he asks for.

      • I don’t see how Bergevin has built the farm? I believe including Price Montreal currently has 4-5 actual drafted players on their roster? The rest were acquired through trades and free agency.

        After nine years in his current role you’d expect more than a lines worth of players in that system.

        In the meantime, he’s traded away farm guys like Sergachev for pennies on the dollar and put them in probably an he worst cap situation of any team in the NHL in the process.

        It’s hard to comprehend how Montreal navigates the cap in the coming years. Even if Weber never plays another game for them.

        This guy should be gone, unless ownership sees an unlikely return to the finals?

      • Very astute observation Captain Obvious… hence the name! Over the years heard GMMB several times say that he wants to build through the draft and he would not trade away the future. 9 years in and we have Gally/Leks/Evans/Romanov/Caufield to show for his drafting acumen. It’s time to give him a big hug and replace him with the best available candidate. Translators are available to appease the French in Quebec who insist on limiting the pool to Francophones only. If they can interview English skaters through translation then they can do the same for the GM.

      • “the Habs, a team know to be “perennial cup contenders””


      • “Every GM runs big decisions by the owner.”

        No, they don’t.

        If they did, Edmonton wouldn’t have Mikko Koskinen still stinking up the joint.

      • Yes they do Garth.

        Koskinen Vallankumous!

      • Ray Bark you said “Every GM runs big decisions by the owner. If someone was gonna spend $50M of your money, would you want the final say? Of course your would.”

        Yes most managers layout a “plan” for the year which includes budgets, personnel changes, hires etc. to the owners in meetings. Owners hire managers to manage their assets, whether it be, money, stocks or in this case team. Owners are obviously informed of the actions with a laid out proposal/plan. My point is that owners are told of impending actions and the rewards or fallout from it but the final decision to do or not do something isn’t why GMs inform the owners. The owners that do take on that role tend to bring more harm than good to a sports team.

      • I think we agree Ron?
        IE – Holland makes a long term offer to Hyman. My guess well before the offer was made, including the amount and term, an approval from was sought from, and signed off on by Katz.
        Like I said MB gets the majority of what he wants.

      • Any GM in Toronto would have a tougher time running any move past the “owner” since the owner is a conglomeration interested only in “the bottom line.” And now one of the heads of one element of that conglomeration is at major odds with the board!

      • Nice non point to the topic…welcome. Coming from you and your teams management is rich. Like your teams owners only concern is. Nice example of calling a kettle black eh, pot?

    • I would be worried about the Roy rumours. Looked what happened when he left the Avalanche. They improved quickly after his departcher. Then again I have never been a Roy fan.
      In a story that I read back when he left the Avs on SI, it sounded like he prefers a Sutter type of team over the type of team Sakic was building. More vetrane, bigger, and hard to play against. The way he left the Avs has diva all over it IMO. LOL
      I’ll see if I can find it the story again.

      • As a big time Avalanche fan, who follows the team very closely, the best thing that ever happened to the Avalanche was when Roy left the team. This allowed Sakic, Chris McFarland the assistant GM and Jared Bednar who ultimatley replaced Roy as coach to construct the team to where it is now. As great a goaltender as Roy is and I love him but he was not the right individual to coach/ or manage this team. I think the team at the time “would run through a wall for him” because he was Patrick Roy but they had no discipline and structure as far as I could tell watching them on a nightly basis? I’m very glad Roy decided to go.

    • I would be thrilled if the Habs signed Roy.

      I can’t wait for the….”it’s my last coaching game in Montreal”

    • Habsfan, MB got lucky in that his team was never as good as it worked out. He caught a huge break with the Canadian Division.
      In a normal year, with regular Divisions, the Canadian don’t even make the playoffs. Just like they will not make them this year.

      Get rid of MB. Throw out last year and how good is his record?

  2. I don’t think Brooks insinuated the Rangers called Chicago; he worded it as “The Post has also learned the Blackhawks have quite naturally talked to the Rangers about Dylan Strome.” It actually sounds like the Hawks approached NYR as the easiest partner to kick off a potential sell.

    • That’s correct, I’ve amended the line accordingly.

  3. And, really who else besides Bergevin is going to do a better job at than him? Because the new hire has to be a francaphone–just ’cause. Really? Patric Roy? Im not a Habs fan but…hard pass on that guy.

  4. Brooks …”a handful of teams have expressed “lukewarm interest””

    Kypper …. “ as many as 15 teams have inquired about Kravtsov. ”

    One/both are a little off on their reporting??? Or are they both using the craft of careful vague exaggerations ?

    • I’m not a Kypper fan, but I would put more faith in what he says over Brooks. Then again, I also don’t know how big of hands Brooks has. LOL

      • LOL … nice one KevJam 👍

  5. MTL should offer Ben Chiarot to the Hawks for Dylan Strome. Table up their 2nd for Kravstov. MTL needs to start getting younger.

  6. Patrick Roy? C’mon if you want a legendary Quebec-born goalie to run your organization I would rather call Marty Brodeur…

    • Rambo, you got me curious with that Brodeur comment as to what he’s doing now – I found this

      “Although he still owns a home in North Jersey, he’s living in St. Louis with his wife and youngest son while devoting a lot of his energy to his Devils job, which changed last January from executive VP of business development to hockey operations advisor.”

      Has he, to your knowledge, ever expressed an interest in becoming a GM?

      There’s no doubting his knowledge of the game, he’s fluently bilingual and has the personality to boot.

  7. Only Anglophone dinosaurs and people outside Quebec do the “only a Francophone GM or coach can be hired instead of the best guy”.

    The GM and Coach need to be able to speak French not necessarily be Francophone.

    Nobody had a problem with Scotty Bowman or Pat Burns as coach or Bob Gainey as GM, they were bilingual.

    80% of the population is Francophone, the official language of Quebec is French, 95% of Quebecers can speak French and the only “condition” for a GM and coach is to be bilingual.

    • HF30. I actually am bilingual but have not reached dinosaur status as of yet. Francophone by definition is ” a person who speaks French” so your response is perplexing. Maybe I should provide definitions in the future. The whole idea of having to speak French to be a GM/coach in Montreal is absurd. Given all the stats you provided then why don’t the players have to speak French? Why do they have captains who don’t speak French? Why?… because it would be absurd.
      So let’s get the best man for the job – otherwise let’s fire up the French GM carrossel ( I mean the coaching corrossel is working isn’t it? – Soon it will be Therrien Act III) and lets get Gauthier, Savard or Gainey another crack at it.

    • Habfan not to pile on but it’s things that are thought like this: “The GM and Coach NEED to be able to speak French”
      That’s a lot to demand since the feeling is needed and not would be a plus or it would be nice if…

      There are translators that can translate properly and concisely plus people who are not from Quebec will embrace everything it has to offer and it will be obvious language barrier or not.

      Something isn’t right with Montreal and pretending like there isn’t, ain’t good.

      Hey garth to answer your question…I’m guessing it was before your time.

  8. Figure out how to get Steve Yzerman in MTL. Look what he did for Tampa Bay; he’s been gone a few years and they’re still winning cups with the groundwork he did. Look at how quickly he’s turning the RedWings around. In my opinion he is the best of the newer, younger GM’s in the league. he gets the needs across all areas and he knows how to mange a cap. Even his coaching selections are hard to argue with, he should be GM for Team Canada in the Olympics this year.

  9. Habman67,
    That would be a carousel, not a carrossel or corrossel which nobody has suggested.

    Why do they have captains who have spoken French for the most part or had the courtesy to say a few words in French?
    With one exception. Koivu.
    Brian Gionta learned French before being chosen to be captain.

    Why do the players have the courtesy to say a few words in French and in many cases learn the language?

    Part of the GM and Coaching job is communication, and in Quebec that means speaking in French to the predominantly French fan base and the overwhelmingly French media.

    Arizona signed André Tourigny and Mario Duhamel as their coaches.

    Benoit Groulx and Joël Bouchard might be coaching in the NHL shortly.

    Alain Vigneault is coaching in Philadelphia.

    Julien BriseBois, Pierre Dorion and Marc Bergevin are pretty successful GMs.

    Every head coach since 1955 spoke French including Toe Blake and Scotty Bowman who were fluently bilingual.

    Making bilingualism PART of the criteria for both roles is a sign of respect, awareness and appreciation to the history of the team known as La Sainte-Flanelle, le Tricolore, les Glorieux, le Bleu Blanc Rouge.

    There are 32 teams in the NHL, 32 GMs and 32 Head Coaches, it shouldn’t be difficult to find ONE of each who is bilingual or understand its importance.

    • HF30 – my apologies for my spelling – it can be atrocious at times!! You mention some successful bilingual GMs (although not quite sure why you put GMMB in there) and coaches. There are also some non French speaking coaches and GM’s who are also successful. My point is that if you are looking for a coach or GM you pick the person who is best for the position and is available. I’d love to have Brisebois – but he’s not available. Ducharme is French – but was he the best coaching candidate out there? As far as the players, other than learning a handful of words, no one is fluent in French but that’s ok as long as the coach and the GM are? No Cup coming to Montreal anytime soon until they get their priorities straight.

      • Habman67,

        You’re like a dog with a bone, claiming priorities aren’t right because bilingualism is one of the criteria.

        I have given you many explanations and reasons why bilingualism is necessary and why it has always been the case.

        I have named coaches past and present who are bilingual who have coached and managed the Habs and other teams.

        French speaking GMs and coaches in Montreal have managed to win 17 Stanley Cups in the last 65 years.

        History has shown that a bilingual GM and coach will win a Stanley Cup in Montreal sooner than later.

  10. HF30. I’ll give it to you, you like using your stats and %s. I guess by your numbers then, the teams who have not had a French speaking GM + coach combo have won 48 cups in the last 65 years. Doesn’t sound as good though does it? I’ll end this by saying that it the organization strongly feels that being bilingual is that important then everyone in the organization should be bilingual. Otherwise just pick the best man (or woman- it is 2021 after all) for the job and if he/she is bilingual or willing to learn French then consider that a bonus – otherwise hire a translator. Just out of curiosity – if you are a hardliner and have a life threatening condition that requires surgery, are you ok if the best doctor for the procedure only speaks English – or do you pick the French speaking doctor who has little experience and not as competent?

  11. Habman67

    As you know if you have a life threatening condition that requires surgery the best doctor for the procedure is bilingual. All doctors need to pass a French proficiency test so there is no real life situation making the bilingual one less experienced or competent.

    I’m not a “hardliner”, I’m not even French, I am fluent in four languages and recognize the importance of communication.

    The underlying assumption that having a bilingual GM and Head Coach is limiting by definition is a false dichotomy.

    • I am unaware of this requirement to be bilingual to be a doctor – maybe they should apply to be GM and coach of the Habs too. What is false is to be a GM you need to be bilingual.

    • Habman67,

      If you were from Quebec you would be aware of the Charte de la langue française which requires people, including doctors to have appropriate knowledge of French.

      There is the stipulation of a French language proficiency test with some exceptions such as having being educated in French.