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May 16, 2017 | 10:38am ET
The Habs Draft: Bergevin's Era

BY ANDREW SARRAZIN | TheFourthPeriod.com

MONTREAL, QC -- The General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens.

The hardest job in Quebec.

Not only are you expected to compete every year, but you're expected to win. And every year, if the team falls short of expectations, which are high, the conversation of your job security is front and center for the summer months.

This year, the focus on Marc Bergevin has intensified. Montreal, failing to make it past the first roundm caused immediate commotion: some calling for his job, some giving one more year of their grace period. Either way, the love for Bergevin isnít at an all-time high.

And why is that? Is it because heís been at the helm of the Canadiens for five years without a Stanley Cup to show for it? I would imagine that has something to do with it.

However, letís not forget what Bergevin inherited. Taking over for Pierre Gauthier in 2012 was not a dream scenario for any new GM. The organization was at a low point, players were underachieving, and the supply of new talent was limited.

When Bergevin came in, he preached team structure and building through the Draft.

If five years is the timeline on which a GM is supposed to get a fair shot at making an impact, letís take a look at the talent Bergevin received when taking on the role of GM in 2012.

From 2007 through 2011, Montreal has drafted a total of 34 players. Twelve players have played an NHL game, and nine of those players have played more than 50 NHL games. I should also note, four of those nine players were drafted in 2007 (Ryan McDonagh, Max Pacioretty, P.K. Subban and Yannick Weber).

When looking at Pittsburgh from a similar stand point, from 2007 through 2011 they have drafted 30 players; 18 players have played an NHL game; and nine players have played in the NHL for more than 50 games. Only two players from the 12 were drafted in 2007.

So it doesnít seem that Bergevin came into a terrible draft class -- I mean, Iím sure he would have loved to keep McDonagh -- but thatís a story told countless times by now.

So how has Bergevin faired with players that he has been drafting since, compared to the Penguins?

Since 2012, Bergevin has drafted 32 players, and for a more realistic argument based on time, weíll look at players who have played more than 11 games (just in case people think about the 10 rookie game allowances). Montreal only has five players who have laced up for 11+ games.

Pittsburgh has drafted 30 players since 2012, and seven have played more than more than 11 games.

These numbers arenít looking too different thus far until you consider that Pittsburgh have had more success and they have historically been drafting lower than the Canadiens, which right away is a bit of a red flag.

Then you need to consider that since 2012, Montreal has had five first-round picks, while Pittsburgh has had three.

Since 2012, Montreal has had 16 picks in the first three rounds. Pittsburgh has had 12.

The Habs have, for the most part, been consistently in a better draft position, with more drafts picks, and in higher rounds than the Penguins, yet Pittsburgh has more to show for it.

Bergevin has said countless times that you need to build through the Draft, and he believes in it, as he should. Whether itís the current scouting system, player development, bad draft years, or just hard luck, unfortunately the thought that Montreal hasnít had decent spots to draft quality players is hard to argue when compared to a team that has had to make the most of their lower round selections since 2007.

If the Habs, like many other teams, want to build through the Draft, it may be time to consider that their current process may need some tinkering.

While the past didnít do Bergevin any favors and made his job significantly more difficult, hereís hoping that more recent prospects start to turn into NHL players real fast.

This article isnít to say the current setup has failed by any means; more to stack up the numbers and see where the past five years stand.

And just to make sure you donít feel everything is doom and gloom with your favorite teamís draft system, here are some facts to shine some light on the scenario:

Artturi Lehkonen looks like a top-six forward, and was drafted at 55;

Mikhail Sergachev is a hopeful, but not certain, top-two defender;

Montreal has four picks in this yearís top-three rounds;

And five picks in next yearís top-three rounds.

So, expect this yearís draft to be exciting, and hopefully Montreal gains some diamonds in the rough.

Andrew Sarrazin is the Montreal Correspondent for The Fourth Period. Follow him on Twitter.

 
 
 

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