"I’ll listen, I’m open," Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said about his willingness to trade the third overall pick in the upcoming NHL Draft.
He was holding court with the media last Saturday, mostly talking about his decision to trade Alex Galchenyuk to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Max Domi some 12 hours prior, when he let that comment fly and added, "I’ve told teams if they want to make me an offer, I’ll look at it."
On one hand, it was the type of standard comment any manager of a team holding such a desirable place in the selection order would make. On the other, it was a considerable departure from what Bergevin had said upon finding out the Canadiens had drawn the third overall pick at the draft lottery — comments he repeated practically verbatim in an interview with NHL.com’s Mike Zeisberger at the NHL combine in Buffalo a month later.
"You pay a hefty price to get that pick," Bergevin told Zeisberger on May 29. "Obviously having the season we had (finishing 28th overall), that’s what gave us the right to pick that high. It’s certainly not the goal when your season starts. But after all the pain and suffering, people will say, ‘Will you ever trade that pick?’ You know what? I learned from a comment (then-Chicago Blackhawks GM) Dale Tallon made when I was in Chicago. He said: ‘You know what? You know how much we suffered to get that pick?’ And I believe at the time it was third overall and it was (centre) Jonathan Toews. And the next year, it was Patrick Kane (with the No. 1 pick). So it’s not a fun time for our fans to suffer the way they did this year, but we’re going to get rewarded in Dallas with a pick we feel will make our team better in the long haul. That’s the price to pay."
You have to think that if Bergevin didn’t believe that the player the Canadiens have targeted with the first of their 10 picks might be available a couple of spots down, he wouldn’t be changing his tune.