Six-year contract for Andrew Shaw

Posted on 28 June 2016 | Comments Off

MONTREAL – Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced on Monday that the team has agreed to terms on a six-year contract with forward Andrew Shaw. Acquired on Friday from the Chicago Blackhawks, Shaw scored 14 goals and registered 34 points in 78 games last season. He also was a standout during the playoffs, posting six points – including four goals – in six games. “We are very pleased to have agreed to a long-term deal with Andrew Shaw. As I mentioned last Friday following his acquisition, we are adding a solid character player to our team, a reliable player who plays with grit and a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Chicago Blackhawks over the past five seasons. Andrew will add more leadership to our team. I had the opportunity to discuss with him over the past few days, and I sense his determination and excitement in joining the Canadiens’ organization for many years to come,” said general manager Marc Bergevin. A five-year NHL veteran, the Belleville, ON native won the Stanley Cup twice in Chicago, hoisting the coveted trophy in both 2012-13 and again in 2014-15. -

Vachon gets the call to the Hall

Posted on 27 June 2016 | Comments Off

MONTREAL – It was announced on Monday that former Canadiens goaltender Rogatien Vachon will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2016. Born in Palmarolle, QC, Rogatien Vachon spent the first five years of his career in a Canadiens uniform, finishing with a record of 110-56-30 in 206 games played with Montreal. During the 1967-68 season, his second season in bleu-blanc-rouge, Vachon and Gump Worsley formed a tandem to be reckoned with in front of the Montreal net, which led to them sharing the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltenders before helping the club win the first of two consecutive Stanley Cups. Vachon won his third Cup in 1970-71, as the backup to rookie Ken Dryden. In fact, it was the latter’s emergence that led Montreal to trade Vachon to the Los Angeles Kings during the 1971-72 season. Vachon becomes the 57th member of the Canadiens organization to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and the first since Pat Burns in 2014. The official induction ceremony for the class of 2016 will be held November 14th, 2016, in Toronto.

Focusing on D

Posted on 25 June 2016 | Comments Off

BUFFALO – The Canadiens didn’t hide the fact that they were out to stock up on young defensemen at the NHL Draft. After selecting Russian rearguard Mikhail Sergachev ninth overall during Friday night’s opening round, Marc Bergevin and Trevor Timmins paid further attention to the blue line by picking three more defensemen among the five players he added to the Canadiens’ fold on Saturday in Western New York. “There was a focus on that. We wanted to add more defense. Obviously, there were prospects in the second round that we had targeted to help our back end. In the first round, we were happy to get a defenseman. As the draft went along, we tried to make sure that we added D to our cupboards,” admitted Timmins, the Canadiens’ VP of player personnel and director of amateur scouting. “The asset value of D-men is high. We need to keep adding that because it takes a little longer for them to develop as opposed to forwards.” With no picks in the second round following the Andrew Shaw deal, Timmins didn’t have the opportunity to make a pick before Round 3. He began by selecting centerman William Bitten from the OHL’s Flint Firebirds. Having seen Bitten play first-hand time and again in the youngster’s hometown of Ottawa – which also just happens to be where Timmins resides – the 17-year-old forward couldn’t hide his excitement following his selection because the Canadiens have always held a special place in his heart. “It’s a very good feeling. My family lives in Montreal. The Canadiens have been my favorite team since I was a kid. It’s a feeling that I’ll never forget,” admitted Bitten, who finished the season atop the Firebirds’ scoring list with 30 goals and 65 points in 67 games. “I see the ice really well. I have a good shot. I’m really fast. I never give up. Like this year, I played in Flint where we had a lot of distractions. It’s been a long year, too. I turned 17 and I had an “A” on my jersey this past year. I had a big role, and I think I had a good season.” With his next two picks, Timmins once again turned his attention to the back end by selecting Victor Mete and Casey Staum in the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively. While Staum finished last season at Hill-Murray School in Minnesota, Mete completed his just a few weeks ago when he hoisted the Memorial Cup with the rest of his London Kinghts teammates. Even though much of the attention was squarely on fellow Knights standout Olli Juolevi in 2015-16, Mete picked up 38 points, just four points less than Juolevi. "I think I can bring hard work every game, dedication, loyalty and always trying my best,” said Mete, who played for the Junior Canadiens at the minor midget level and always admired the CH. “I’m an offensive defenseman, so I try to jump in the rush and be the fourth guy in to create more offense. I also play well in the defensive zone.” In Round 6, the Canadiens elected to focus once again on the forward position by selecting centerman Michael Pezzetta of the Sudbury Wolves. While Pezzetta isn’t necessarily known for his offensive prowess – as indicated by his haul of 28 points in 64 games last season – the Toronto native stands out in more ways than one on the ice, and he isn’t shy about making his presence felt. “I’m a power forward. I really like throwing my weight around and getting the puck to the net,” mentioned the 6-foot-1 forward, who tips the scales at 199 pounds. “I’m a playoff type of player, somebody you could win with. I like being a leader on the ice.” With no selections initially in the seventh and final round, the Canadiens made a trade with the Winnipeg Jets to return to the microphone and select Swedish defenseman Arvid Henrikson. Ranked 86th among European skaters by Central Scouting, Henrikson garnered plenty of attention from the Canadiens’ Swedish scout, Christer Rockstrom. “He’s a late-round guy we believe has flown under the radar. He’s a similar type and style like a Jonathan Ericsson,” mentioned Timmins, referencing the imposing Red Wings defenseman. “We feel he has tremendous upside down the road. He’s one of these picks that hopefully four or five years down the road, we’ll see. Time will tell. We felt strongly that we had to make a move to try and get him in this draft.” In total, six prospects joined the Canadiens organization over the weekend in Buffalo. And, as Timmins said himself, only time will tell what impact they have down the road. Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

Ready to begin again

Posted on 25 June 2016 | Comments Off

BUFFALO – Andrew Shaw is already counting down the days until training camp begins. Similar to a lot of his former teammates over the last few years, Shaw found himself the victim of the Blackhawks’ salary cap issues and was forced to move on from the Windy City as a result. But, when he learned that he’d be continuing his career in Montreal with the Canadiens, and that he’d be working with a familiar face again in Marc Bergevin, the shock of being dealt was a little bit easier to absorb. In short, Shaw already has big ambitions for his new team. “I found out maybe 10 to 15 minutes before everyone did, so I was prepared for my phone to blow up. I’m excited and happy where I am, and I’m happy with the team we have, too,” said Shaw, who spoke to members of the media via a conference call from his hometown of Belleville, ON on Saturday afternoon. “We’re a talented, young, and hard working team. We’re going to work together. We’re going to compete, and I like our chances. It would be awesome to bring the Cup back to Montreal. There would probably be a riot in the city if it happened. It would be fun to be a part of this. We’re going to work hard to achieve this goal.” While Shaw boasts just five years of NHL experience, the tenacious forward – who will celebrate his 25th birthday in July – possesses a CV that already includes two Stanley Cup rings to his credit. The fact that he’s already tasted victory twice before, and knows the ingredients necessary to win, played an important part in Bergevin’s decision to bring him on board. Bergevin actually played a very big part in Shaw’s arrival in Chicago several years ago when he was a part of the Blackhawks’ brass that selected him in the fifth round of the NHL Entry Draft in 2011. Being reunited with Bergevin in Montreal is just additional motivation for Shaw to succeed in his brand new hockey home. “Berg is the one who brought me to Chicago. I was with him when I signed my entry-level deal. I’m excited that we have that relationship already. Berg has always liked my play – either the rat in me or my work ethic,” cracked Shaw, who scored 14 goals and amassed 34 points last season, while also posting a plus-11 differential and spending 69 minutes in the penalty box. “He always made sure to let me know about it over the years. He likes me as a player. He brought me to the NHL and he’s given me that opportunity. I ran with it and I owe him a lot.” The familiarity that exists between Shaw and Bergevin should make contract negotiations between the two sides relatively easy. For his part, Shaw is slated to become a restricted free agent in the coming days. If Shaw knows Bergevin well, he’ll also come across another familiar face in Montreal in P.K. Subban, whose brother, Malcolm, played for the same Junior squad as his brother. They often crossed paths at the time in Belleville. But, if there’s one player on Michel Therrien’s contingent who should be ecstatic with Shaw’s arrival, it’s Brendan Gallagher. Both players are known to drive their opponents on the ice crazy with their style of play. Now that they’re playing for the same team, they’ll be able to do that together – to the delight of Habs fans, of course. “Brendan Gallagher and I have had some fun battles. Now, I’m excited to be on his side, annoy people together and battle,” concluded Shaw. “It’s going to be a fun team to play with. I can’t wait for September, obviously. I’m not used to these long summers. Hopefully, we can work together as an organization. I hope everyone is healthy all year long and we have some fun and success as well.” Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

2016 NHL Entry Draft: Day 2

Posted on 25 June 2016 | Comments Off

BUFFALO – The Canadiens entered the second day of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft with four picks at their disposal. After trading away their two second-round picks on Friday night to acquire Andrew Shaw from the Chicago Blackhawks, general manager Marc Bergevin didn't make a selection until Round 3 on Saturday. He began his day by picking center William Bitten of the OHL's Flint Firebirds 70th overall. With his fourth-round pick, he selected London Knights defenseman Victor Mete 100th overall. Mete registered eight goals and 38 points in 68 games during his second OHL season. In the fifth round, the Canadiens picked American defenseman Casey Staum. Then, the Canadiens selected centerman Michael Pezzetta from the OHL's Sudbury Wolves. The 6-foot-1, 197-pound forward amassed 10 goals and 28 points in 64 games last season. Finally, Bergevin acquired the 187th overall pick from the Winnipeg Jets and selected defenseman Arvid Henrikson.

Busy Friday night

Posted on 25 June 2016 | Comments Off

BUFFALO – The Canadiens might have been picking in the No. 9 spot on Friday night, but they certainly made their presence felt a lot earlier than that. For the past few weeks, Habs fans were wondering what Marc Bergevin would do during Round 1. Would he move up? Would he make a trade? Or, would he just opt to keep things exactly the way they were? His moves in the opening round involved a couple of those elements, as Bergevin was active from the start. Just minutes after the Toronto Maple Leafs made Auston Matthews the first- overall pick, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman took to the microphone to announce a pair of trades, both of which involved the Canadiens. First, the Canadiens traded Lars Eller to the Washington Capitals in exchange for two second-round picks, one in 2017 and another in 2018. A few seconds later, the crowd in attendance at the First Niagara Center learned that the Canadiens sent their two second-round picks this year to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward Andrew Shaw. After spending a lot of time talking to his colleagues from other teams on the draft floor before the annual NHL event got underway, Bergevin decided to act and shake things up a bit. “Andrew Shaw has played five seasons in the NHL and he’s won two Stanley Cups. We talked a lot about helping out our dressing room with character guys, and that’s one of the reasons why it was important to go out and get a player of his caliber. He’s got many good attributes on the ice and off it,” said Bergevin, who was still working in the Blackhawks’ organization when Shaw was drafted in 2011. “He knows what it takes to win. He’s scored big goals during the playoffs, and he reminds me a little bit of Brendan Gallagher. He takes guys into battle with him. I feel like our fans will appreciate him.” While Shaw will soon become a restricted free agent, Bergevin is confident that he’ll get his new forward under contract soon. As has been the case for the past few years, the Blackhawks were forced to part ways with key players to make their salary cap situation work. Shaw is the most recent example of that. Likewise, the Canadiens were forced to deal Eller to Washington for salary cap reasons, too, following six seasons in Montreal. “I’d like to thank Lars for the service he’s given to the Montreal Canadiens. There again, we had to make some space under the salary cap when we acquired a player. Washington saw Lars as a player who met their needs. I want to wish him the best of luck,” stressed Bergevin, referencing the Danish forward who still had two years left on his contract with the Canadiens. Then, when the Canadiens elected to stand pat and pick ninth, Bergevin decided to focus once again on the back end. For a second consecutive year, he selected a defenseman in the first round, picking Mikhail Sergachev of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires. Having learned to speak English in just a few months after arriving on Canadian soil last year, the newcomer couldn’t hide his excitement after joining the Canadiens’ fold. “It’s very special. It’s one of the best feelings you can have because Montreal is a hockey city. Nothing can beat being drafted by the Canadiens,” said Sergachev, who led all OHL defensemen with 17 goals, and amassed 57 points in his first season in North America in 2015-16. “I’m a defenseman who’s good at both ends of the rink, and I have a good shot. I play in pretty much any situation.” After meeting with the Canadiens’ brass on three occasions over the last few months, the Russian rearguard – who turned 18 on Saturday – admits that he thought a lot about the CH when it was their turn to head up on the draft stage in the opening round. Hoping to have the chance to showcase his skills in the NHL ranks as quickly as possible – even as soon as next season – Sergachev is eager to one day play alongside one his fellow countrymen, Andrei Markov, to whom Bergevin compared his newest prospect. “It’s pretty cool [to be compared to a young Markov]. He’s definitely one of the best defensemen in the NHL, which is the best league in the world. It’s very special,” added Sergachev, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 203 pounds. “I’d like to play with him one day. He’s mature and he knows a lot of things.” In Bergevin’s mind, selecting Sergachev – who compares his playing style to that of Norris Trophy winner Drew Doughty – was a no-brainer. He’d always said he was intent on picking the best player available, and in his mind the Nizhnekamsk, Russia native was it. “I wanted a defenseman. The projections on him say that he could replace Andrei Markov. Andrei still provides us with some precious work, but he’s getting older. We were very happy to get Sergachev. He’s a big guy, a player who’s capable of playing just as good on the left side as he does on the right. He’s very solid,” said Bergevin, who doesn’t want to look too far ahead when it comes to his top pick. “He needs to get a little bit more mature on the ice, as all young defensemen need to do. On the physicality side of things, he’s almost at the NHL level. We’re following him closely. He’ll come to camp and we’ll see what happens.” After trading away his two picks in the second round, Bergevin still has four picks in the final six rounds to work with. Who knows what Saturday will bring… Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

Canadiens select Sergachev

Posted on 25 June 2016 | Comments Off

BUFFALO - The opening-round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft got underway on Friday night at the First Niagara Center. With the ninth pick, the Canadiens selected defenseman Mikhail Sergachev from the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League. More details to come...

Eller is dealt, Shaw arrives

Posted on 24 June 2016 | Comments Off

BUFFALO – General manager Marc Bergevin went right to work on Friday night at the First Niagara Center, completing a pair of transactions as the opening round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft got underway. In addition to trading Lars Eller to the Washington Capitals in exchange for second-round selections in 2017 and 2018, Bergevin also acquired Andrew Shaw from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for the Canadiens’ 39th and 45th picks in this year’s draft.

Spelling it out

Posted on 24 June 2016 | Comments Off

BUFFALO – On the eve of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Marc Bergevin wanted to be perfectly clear about one point, in particular. With rumours aplenty swirling about P.K. Subban’s status in Montreal, the Canadiens’ general manager wasted little time on Thursday stressing his position with respect to the Norris Trophy winning defenseman potentially plying his trade elsewhere in the NHL ranks anytime soon. “I’ve never shopped P.K. I’ve never done it and I'm not doing it. I can’t prevent other teams from calling me, though. That’s the reality of the situation. There will always be rumors. That’s the market in Montreal and that’s Canada. No matter what I say, the rumors will always be there. When other teams call, I listen, but I say no,” said Bergevin during his pre-draft press conference, referencing reports that the Canadiens’ No. 76 could very well be on the move. “What I find funny is that this is all about P.K. I don’t know why. All I’m saying is that we’ve received calls [about him].” Taking those phone calls doesn’t bother Bergevin at all. He fully understands the intense interest in a player of Subban’s caliber. After all, the 27-year-old Toronto native is coming off his third consecutive 50-point campaign, one in which he also took part in the NHL All-Star Game for the very first time. “He’s an All-Star defenseman. He’s extremely good. If I would be another team, I’d be calling, too,” cracked Bergevin, before adding that he’s perfectly comfortable with Subban continuing to be exactly who he is already – charismatic, flamboyant and a world-class athlete to boot. “There’s nothing wrong with having personality. We want players to be themselves. They’re not robots. As long as they perform on the ice, and do what they’re supposed to do as a team, we have no issues with that whatsoever.” When it comes to the Canadiens’ opening-round pick in the No. 9 spot on Friday night, however, Bergevin isn’t ruling anything out in terms of possibly shaking things up in order to better his group heading into the 2016-17 campaign. The option is still there – for the right price, of course. “There’s a possibility that I’ll trade our first pick [for immediate help], if the player can help us and he’s relatively young. Teams call, but there hasn’t been anything concrete,” confirmed Bergevin, who isn’t feeling any pressure at all to make a splash of some sort over the next few days in Western New York, especially with his All-World netminder set to return to active duty in a few months’ time. “I got some good news the other day that one of our best players is going to be back 100 percent. I think we’re a better team with Carey Price in net.” Admittedly, if Bergevin holds steady and selects ninth, he doesn’t expect the young gun to be NHL ready as soon as October. That being said, he believes the newest addition to the Canadiens’ fold will undoubtedly be a top-notch prospect with plenty of potential going forward. “We feel the player we’re going to get at nine is going to be a very good player for a long time. Is he going to be a franchise player? If you asked today, I’d say probably not,” concluded Bergevin, who insisted he’d be “shocked” to see a potential No. 9 pick ply his trade in Montreal this year. “But, we’ve seen players being drafted like Jamie Benn. He was a fifth-round pick. He’s a franchise player, so you never know what can happen.” Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

Top 10 – Habs NHL draft steals

Posted on 23 June 2016 | Comments Off

10 - Brendan Gallagher He may have just completed his fourth NHL season, but he still managed to earn a spot on our Top 10 list. The 147th overall selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Gallagher finished second in voting for the Calder Trophy as the league’s Rookie of the Year in 2012-13, and was named one of four alternate captains before the beginning of the 2015-16 season. Last year, he recorded 19 goals and 40 points. Gallagher sits eighth in points amongst players selected in his draft class. 9 - Mark Streit Drafted at the age of 26, Swiss defenseman Mark Streit was somewhat of a different case than other young hopefuls who still had plenty of developing to do. Nevertheless, when a player drafted 262nd overall amasses 62 points in a season while patrolling your team’s blue line, you could consider that to be a steal. 8 - Chris Nilan The NHL’s premier enforcer in the 1980s and the Canadiens all-time leader with 2,248 career penalty minutes, Nilan was the Habs’ 21st selection in 1977, 231st overall. 7 - Jaroslav Halak “A draft isn’t over until it’s over” is something that Yogi Berra might have said at one point in time. At least, he should have. Back in 2003, while all of the stands in the rink in Nashville were empty, the Canadiens used their last pick, 271st overall, to select the Slovakian netminder that allowed them to reach the Eastern Conference Final in 2010 for the first time since 1993. 6 - Michael Ryder Thirty-goal scorers are a rarity in today’s NHL. In 1998, Canadiens general manager Réjean Houle was fortunate enough to find a player 216th overall that would hit that pleateau three times over the course of his career, including twice with the Canadiens. 5 - P.K. Subban After selecting him 42nd overall in 2007, Canadiens director of amateur scouting Trevor Timmins said that Subban would be the fastest player on the ice at the team’s next training camp. Not only is Subban one of the fastest players in the NHL, he also claimed the Norris Trophy this past season as the top rearguard in the league at just 24 years of age. 4 - Andrei Markov Another great selection by Réjean Houle. A pillar on the Canadiens’ blue line for more than a decade, Andrei Markov sits third in points among defenseman in team history. He was selected 162nd overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. 3 - Chris Chelios Drafted 40th overall in 1983, Chris Chelios enjoyed a lengthy hockey career. In 26 NHL seasons, the American-born defenseman played 1,651 games – the fourth most games in league history – and also won three Stanley Cups and captured the Norris Trophy three times. His body of work should earn him a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame as early as this year. 2- Larry Robinson The player selected the earliest in our Top 10 list, Larry Robinson was still very much a steal by Sam Pollock during the 1971 NHL Entry Draft. Selected 20th overall, Robinson played the most NHL games among players in his draft class, contesting 1,384 regular season tilts and another 227 games in the playoffs. He also amassed six Stanley Cup titles, two Norris Trophy wins, and earned a Conn Smythe Trophy. 1 - Patrick Roy Hello! 551 wins in the regular season, 151 playoff victories, four Stanley Cup titles, three Conn Smythe Trophy wins, a three-time winner of the Vezina Trophy and five Jennings Trophy wins. That being said, he was still available to be drafted 51st overall by Serge Savard and the Canadiens in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.

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