Don’t expect Marc Bergevin to trade Canadiens’ No. 3 pick at NHL Draft

“You pay a hefty price to get that pick,” general manager tells

Article content

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin says he’s unlikely to trade the No. 3 overall pick at this year’s NHL Draft.

Article content

During a Q&A interview with Mike Zeisberger of Tuesday in Buffalo, where the 2018 NHL Scouting Combine is being held this week, Bergevin said he would have to be blown away with a trade offer from another team in order to deal the No. 3 pick that the Canadiens won in the NHL Draft Lottery after finishing 28th in the overall NHL standings this season with a 29-40-13 record.

“You pay a hefty price to get that pick,” Bergevin told Zeisberger. “Obviously, having the season we had, that’s what gave us the right to pick that high. It’s certainly not the goal when your season starts. But after all the pain and suffering, people will say, ‘Will you ever trade that pick?’ You know what? I learned from a comment (then-Blackhawks GM) Dale Tallon made when I was in Chicago. He said: ‘You know what, Berg? You know how much we suffered to get that pick?’ And I believe at the time it was third overall and it was Jonathan Toews. And the next year, it was Patrick Kane (with the No. 1 pick). So it’s not a fun time for our fans to suffer the way they did this year, but we’re going to get rewarded in Dallas with a pick we feel will make our team better in the long haul. That’s the price to pay.”

This marks the second time in six years as GM of the Canadiens that Bergevin has the No. 3 pick at the draft after selecting Alex Galchenyuk third overall in 2012. Since then, Bergevin’s first-round draft picks have been Mike McCarron (25th overall, 2013), Nikita Scherbak (26th, 2014), Noah Juulsen (26th, 2015), Mikhail Sergachev (ninth, 2016) and Ryan Poehling (25th, 2017).

This year’s NHL Draft will be held June 22-23 in Dallas.

Article content

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

After drafting Galchenyuk during his first year on the job as Canadiens GM, Bergevin told TSN’s James Duthie: “That’s the guy we were focused on from Day 1 since I took over. We were glad that he was there at (No.) 3.

“He’s a big centre … they don’t come by,” Bergevin added. “When they do, you draft them because you can’t really trade for one because for one they’re not available. Down the middle for me has to be a strength and he fits the bill.”

Six years later, Galchenyuk still hasn’t fit the bill at centre, which continues to be a major weak spot for the Canadiens and Bergevin doesn’t expect Galchenyuk to play centre again next season..

“He hasn’t played centre all year,” Bergevin said about Galchenyuk after the Canadiens’ season ended. “I’m still not sold on that and, to be honest with you, I don’t think he will be. I’m trying to be transparent with you. I think he’s gotten better. He had a tough start, he’s gotten better … his compete level. He’s a good kid, he wants to do well. But like the rest of us, he had a tough year.”

Jonathan Drouin also had a tough year in his first season as the Canadiens’ No. 1 centre after being acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchance for defenceman Mikhail Sergachev, but Bergevin told’s Zeisberger that he hasn’t given up on Drouin in that spot.

“There is a perception that (Drouin) failed there,” Bergevin told Zeisberger. “I’m not ready to say that.

“It takes some time and some mileage to play that position to a degree where you could really help your team win,” the GM added. “So I’m not going to write him off there. But we have options we can look at as we speak.”

[email protected]