Change has been one of the few constants in the early existence of Les Habs. But a promising new GM vows to make it all worth it.
While most teams GM’s now can look back, sum up, and comment on their strategy for the BEARD Hockey Dispersal Draft, the situation in Montreal is quite different.
During the draft. the 'captain' decided to leave the ship for personal reasons and a new GM was brought in from Sweden. And since then, there has been revolving doors on the Canadiens locker room. With so many trades made in a short time, fans are left to wonder whether new GM Lennart Westman disapproves with the predecessor’s choices and what his plan is with the trades made.
Some have even expressed criticism against acquiring players with short contracts.
"If we start with the Dispersal Draft, I am very pleased with the choices made in general," remarked Westman. "The first six picks - Aho, Hughes, Price, Malkin, Benn, and Petry are all great picks that add game-winning qualities to every position. And the following picks consisting of Heinola, Dunn, and a package of prospects among others brought in a lot of hope for the future."
"So I can’t say anything but that the table was set very nicely for me as I was given the opportunity to take over."
Despite the praise, Westman has made several trades in a very short time, some of them involving players picked early in the Dispersal Draft. Some have involved those he calls ”hope for the future” types.
"We will always be looking to improve, and given the opportunity to acquire a scorer like Skinner and a strong, tough offensive player like Hornqvist, and strong defenders like Zaitsev and Gudas, I think the mix is even better than before," says Westman. "With the acquisition of Detroit’s first (Dispersal Draft) pick, netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy, I believe we increased our chances of success greatly, even though some may think we overpaid in that specific trade."
The main criticism against the trades so far though has not been regarding overpaying, but rather taking on much higher salaries and one-year contracts. Fans fear the team might suffer next season.
"I respect their concern of course, but I'm not worried at all," claims Westman. "Coach Laviolette has a great record of creating good relations with and between players, and building a winning atmosphere. I’m convinced that we will enter next season, and many after that, with a team strong enough to challenge other clubs in the race for the Cup."
So - will the doors keep revolving or will there now be peace in the Canadiens locker room? When pressed, Westman remained coy.
"Well, I guess you’ll just have to wait and see, won’t you?"
Westman laughs, walks away, and picks up his phone. He makes a switch to something that sounds like French.
"Content que vous appelez! Maintenant, nous allons vous faire aussi réussir que votre père!"