With two of his top six defensemen sidelined for at least two months, Bob Gainey made a move today to add defensive depth by signing Marc-Andre Bergeron.
While many would have preferred to see how Yannick Weber and Mathieu Carle could contribute, Gainey decided to act. Given the options that were being floated, this seems like a good move.
Some fans were hoping that Gainey would made a trade involving Jaroslav Halak and prospects like P.K. Subban to bring in a big name like Brian Campbell. Acquiring Campbell would create cap problems once Andrei Markov returns to the lineup. Campbell has seven years remaining on his contract at $7.1 million per season.
Other media-suggested solutions like Patrice Brisebois, Denis Gauthier, and Mathieu Dandenault were just silly talk from the usual sources.
Bergeron, who played with the Minnesota Wild last season, is an undersized power-play specialist who remained unsigned when the season started. It's unclear what to expect from Bergeron, a defenseman who couldn't crack the Wild lineup with defensemen like Nick Schultz, John Scott, Greg Zanon, and Jamie Sifers.
It's also hard to understand what Bergeron can bring to the Canadiens beyond what Weber will provide. However, if Gainey added Bergeron for insurance, then it's hard to argue with the decision. Bergeron, who earned $1.7 million last season, signed a one year contract at $750,000.
Bergeron, who spent the summer rehabbing from April back surgery, will spend some conditioning time with the Bulldogs in Hamilton before joining the Canadiens.
The official press release regarding the signing of Marc-Andre Bergeron from the Montreal Canadiens follows:
Tuesday, 06.10.2009 / 4:20 PM
MONTREAL – Canadiens General manager Bob Gainey announced Tuesday that the Club agreed to a one-year contract with defenseman Marc-André Bergeron. As per Club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
A native of Trois-Rivières, Québec, Bergeron played in 72 of the Minnesota Wild 82 regular-season games in 2008-09 recording 32 points (14 goals including seven on the power-play, and 18 assists), served 30 penalty minutes and had a +5 plus/minus rating with 16:58 average ice time per game. Half of his goal production came on the power play and he also tallied three game-winning goals.
The 5’9’’ and 198 lbs defenseman is entering his 7th NHL season having played 339 NHL games with Edmonton, NY Islanders, Anaheim and Minnesota. Bergeron recorded 160 points (62 goals, 98 assists), 161 penalty minutes and a +3 plus/minus rating with 36 tallies on the power play. In 2005-06 he reached the Stanley Cup Final with the Edmonton Oilers losing to the Carolina Hurricanes. In 24 NHL career playoff games he registered six points (3 goals, 3 assists).
A former star defenseman with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar and the Shawinigan Cataractes (recording 101 points in 69 games in 2000-01), Bergeron recorded 230 points and served 529 penalty minutes in 249 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League regular season games. He was voted to the QMJHL and the Canadian Hockey League First All-Star Teams in 2001 and selected Top Defenseman in the CHL in the same year. In just his second year with the American Hockey League Hamilton Bulldogs in 2003, he was voted to the league’s Second All-Star Team.
Marc-André Bergeron will report to the Hamilton Bulldogs tomorrow for conditioning purposes. The Bulldogs will be playing their next game in Rockford, on October 9, against the IceHogs. Bergeron will be available to the media later today through a conference call.