The train wreck that is the Montreal Canadiens organization continued to go off the rails on Monday when general manager Marc Bergevin made some unbelievable comments regarding the direction of the organization moving forward, specifically as it pertains to star forward Jonathan Drouin.
Bergevin was speaking to with Montreal Canadiens' insider Tony Marinaro during a radio interview on TSN 690 in Montreal when he was asked about arguably the Canadiens longest running, and likely most serious, problem, their lack of depth at the center position. The Canadiens have not had a true #1 center for as long as most fans care to remember and their attempts to find patchwork solutions to that problem in recent years has more often then not led to complete and unmitigated disasters.
The Canadiens most recent attempt to solve this problem was the acquisition of forward Jonathan Drouin, then a winger for the Tampa Bay Lightning organization, but that has not entirely worked out for them either. I think it would be generous to say that the Canadiens have experienced mixed results with Drouin as a center and many fans have been quick to point out that things have played out similarly to the way they did with former Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk.
Well those fans may in fact have been even more correct in their assessment of the situation than even they would have expected because on Monday Bergevin revealed that, much like the Habs did with Galchenyuk, Drouin would once again see a change in position this season. Bergevin was asked who he had playing at center this season when he revealed that the he currently had 4 names on the board in his office. Surprisingly not one of those names belonged to the aforementioned Drouin.
According to Marinaro, Bergevin informed him that he expects to have forwards Max Domi, Phillip Danault, Matthew Peca as well as veteran Tomas Plekanec playing the center position for his team this season. You would have to forgive any fan for looking at that line up of centers and questioning whether or not the team really has the quality of depth at the position that they need to compete at the NHL level.
Danault is largely a home grown product and has shown himself to be a valuable asset to the Canadiens in recent years so he is likely the player fans will feel the most comfortable with, but the other names on the list leave some serious doubt. Domi looked so poor in recent seasons that he flunked out of the Arizona Coyotes organization, resulting in that team feeling moving him to Montreal was best for their long term future, while Peca was unable to crack thew Lightning's NHL roster due to that organizations depth at center. By all accounts Peca is capable of being an NHL center but there are understandably some doubts about the level of play he can bring to the table. Plekanec is the best known quantity among the group but he is not getting any younger and has never been a truly elite center to begin with.
There's also the matter of consistency for Drouin, shifting him from one position to the other can't be good for his development at the NHL level and may not be good for his confidence either. The fiasco with Galchenyuk eventually turned ugly for the Canadiens and it would be a nightmare if they handled the Drouin situation in anything remotely resembling a similar fashion.