Thus, we can still hope for reinforcement for the Canadian by the opening of the season.
Claude Julien, yet discreetly natural, put us in the ear yesterday morning. A journalist had asked him if the team had improved compared to the previous season (with the arrival of, among others, defender Ben Chiarot and assistant goalkeeper Keith Kinkaid).
"We'll see. Today, I'm here for the Jonathan Drouin tournament. Our tournament will take place on September 9th. It would be clearer because there are still things going on. We discuss different things. I do not want to make a comment here that will be different from what will happen when we start the season. "
We can exclude recruits from the equation. The Canadiens coach will be closely watching them in Belleville next week, but we'll have to wait until the end of training camp, so after September 9, to see if Ryan Poehling, Nick Suzuki, Josh Brook or Cale Fleury will have shone to the point of staying with the team.
The hostile offer to Sebastian Aho on 1st July, even if it failed, confirms the intentions of Marc Bergevin. He wants to improve the team at all costs. The Canadian may have nothing new to announce on September 9, but the will is definitely there.
The Andrei Markov record obviously holds the attention. His new agent, Allan Walsh, took advantage of his ties with Jonathan Drouin to sneak into Canadian territory yesterday and make his pitch of sale. Markov might already have a contract in his pocket if he had earlier associated himself with such a valiant agent.
At 40, Markov slowed down a lot. Bob Hartley has faced him regularly for two years with his Omsk formation and has confirmed him several times on 91.9 Sports. Perhaps he would be able to help the HC in the second unit in numerical superiority, and in a role limited to five against five, he mentioned yesterday.
In an ideal world, the Canadian would be content to offer him a professional essay, so obviously the ties between Bergevin and him are not broken forever. Granting him a one-year guaranteed contract at an annual salary close to one million would not ruin the team, but in the event of a disappointing training camp, it would be surprising to see Markov agree to report to Laval. Unless we can come to an amicable settlement as we did with Mark Streit and Tomas Plekanec.
In addition, the distinguished Elliott Friedman tied left-handed defender Jake Gardiner at the CH. Two other teams would be interested in getting this free agent, the Arizona Coyotes and the Winnipeg Jets. Not to mention the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs are probably waiting for the outcome of negotiations with Mitch Marner before ruling on the fate of Gardiner. He is training in the colors of the Maple Leafs these days.
Gardiner, 29, is not the most reliable defensively, but he drives an attack as few defenders can. He had 30 points in 62 games last year, 52 the year before.
On offense, the Canadiens would probably not spit on a leading right-winger if the opportunity arose. The team has three right-handed forwards in training since Andrew Shaw left. Brendan Gallagher is the only scorer in this small group, completed by Joel Armia, 13 goals last year, and Jordan Weal, still looking for a first season of at least 10 goals.
Is obtaining Patrik Laine in a mega-transaction a utopia? Probably. Jesse Puljujarvi? It all depends on the price required by Oilers GM Ken Holland. The latest news would be a first-round pick and hope. Good luck.
A year ago almost to the day, Bergevin gave an almost forced handshake to his captain Max Pacioretty. A little less than two weeks later, on September 10, he went to the Vegas Golden Knights in return for Tomas Tatar, Nick Suzuki and a second-round pick *.
Let's see if the CEO of the Canadian offers us a similar blow, if he will add only one piece in defense … or if he will maintain the status quo.
*The Knicks' second-round pick in 2019 (50th overall) was traded in the repechage against third-round (64th overall) and fifth-round (126th overall) picks. The CH has drafted two left-handed defenders with these choices, first Mattias Norlinder, then Jacob Leguerrier. Norlinder, 19, had a great end to the season in Modo, Sweden, after being recalled from the junior ranks. He has six points in 14 games in a duet with former Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tobias Enstrom. Leguerrier is first recognized for its defensive qualities. He will begin his fourth season in Sault Ste. Marie in the Ontario Junior League and will be able to see him at work at the CH rookies tournament.
Markov's agent, Allan Walsh, said he was approached by five or six teams. The details here.