February 26, 2019 | 9:57am ET
HABS HELD FIRM AT TRADE DEADLINE
Marc Bergevin, GM
The Montreal Canadiens weren’t planning on getting into the rental market ahead of yesterday’s trade deadline and overspend for short-term gains or even significant players with term, but Habs GM Marc Bergevin did tip his toe in the waters.
Bergevin admitted the price tag for some of the top-tier players available were too high, as most teams asked for top prospects like centre Ryan Poehling and defenceman Alexander Romanov in return.
“It was the same names that kept on coming up,” Bergevin admitted to reporters, as quoted by the Canadiens’ website. “We weren’t going to consider that at all. That was a non-starter.”
The Canadiens also had teams ask about rookie star Jesperi Kotkaniemi, whom the team drafted third-overall last summer. Bergevin admitted those talks ended abruptly.
“The discussion was very short,” he said. “I had to pinch myself to make sure that I heard the right name.”
As TFP reported last week, the Canadiens were among the teams interested in Matt Duchene, but only if he was willing to sign an extension with the club.
Duchene, whom the Ottawa Senators traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, was not willing to sign an extension with any club at this stage and that took the Canadiens out of it.
Bergevin admitted he was “open to anything,” providing the prices made sense. For him and his team, they did not.
“The price to pay, only we know by making those calls,” he said. “And I’m telling you right now, if I would have done what I was asked for, you would probably call me an idiot - which you probably do anyway, but...”
With just over $16.8 million in salary cap space heading into the off-season – not taking into account an increase in the salary cap – the Canadiens could be fairly active as they look to add pieces for the 2019-20 campaign.