The Montreal Canadiens scored the third-fewest goals in the National Hockey League last season, just one more than the perennial league mess, Arizona Coyotes.
And the Canadiens fix this how? General manager Marc Bergevin trades Alex Galchenyuk, his team’s second-leading scorer last year, to Arizona ironically enough, for Max Domi, who found the back of the net nine times in each of the past two years.
Galchenyuk might have been more trouble than he was worth, but he still had 19, 17, 30 and 20 goals the past four years.
Now, Bergevin, the architect of this goal-deprived unit, has dealt his best skater, Max Pacioretty.
Like the rest of his former teammates, Pacioretty had a dreadful 2017-18 campaign, with 17 goals and 37 points, but he has been a consistent 30-goal scorer and is among the top 10 goal-scorers in the NHL since the last lockout ended in 2013.
Tomas Tatar can score, but his production has dropped from 29 goals to 21, 25 and 20 in each of the past four years.
The jury’s still out on young Nick Suzuki.
Bergevin actually did OK netting Tatar and Suzuki and a second-round pick for Pacioretty, a player everyone knew the GM had to move.
But here’s the thing: It was no secret Pacioretty was playing out his contract this season. And if Bergevin felt the player would be asking too much in a new deal — either too much cash, or too much term — it was his right to back away.
So if that was indeed the case — and we can assume so, for general managers don’t usually trade their team captain and best skater for no reason — why didn’t Bergevin move Pacioretty last season?
Yes, Pacioretty slumped in 2017-18, and he missed games to injury which hurt his value. But his market price then was certainly higher than it was last week when Bergevin was backed into a corner, with a new campaign looming and Pacioretty stating he wasn’t about to negotiate during the season.
Not to mention the headache of a lingering story hanging over the team all season.
Savvy GMs would have anticipated this, and pulled the trigger much sooner.
It’s evident Bergevin was not one of those executives.
Nobody asked me, but …
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Robin Short is The Telegram’s Sports Editor. He can be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on Twitter @TelyRobinShort