Dominque Ducharme: Montreal Canadiens’ Head Coach
This was probably the worst kept secret in the NHL but Dominique Ducharme has had the interim title removed. Ducharme signed a three-year deal to be the Canadiens’ head coach. That is after an incredible Stanley Cup Playoff run that saw Montreal advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
Ducharme becomes the 31st coach in Montreal history. Now comes the hard parts. How will Montreal compete in the Atlantic Division again? Who will they protect for the expansion draft? Who will they draft? Who will they sign in free agency? Ah, the questions go on and on.
For now, the Montreal Canadiens and Ducharme will enjoy a honeymoon of sorts. This will be a brief one as everyone knows with Montreal. Now, the head coach did have to use Zoom calls for six games to do his job but Luke Richardson and Alexandre Burrows were more than capable assistants.
Ducharme inherits the transition of going back to an 82-game schedule. This is along with heading back to the stacked Atlantic Division. That division which features the repeat Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Boston and Toronto lurk in that division as well. It will present quite a challenge to the head coach.
Furthermore, it is back to the playoff format of three locked positions in each division and two wildcards. Again, plenty of challenges exist but at least, Montreal has its coaching structured all squared away.
Losing Joel Bouchard Does Hurt…
There is no question that the news of Joel Bouchard leaving for the San Diego Gulls hurts. Bouchard was a highly successful coach when it came to developing talent for the Laval Rocket.
Joël Bouchard’s departure from the Canadiens organization has a familiar feel to it https://t.co/QggEJjKGWj
— Lori (@lori10habs) July 14, 2021
Again, the argument is that maybe Bouchard’s coaching style does not translate to the NHL. Maybe it does not. One thing that could not be denied was the obvious strain between him and Montreal Canadiens’ General Manager Marc Bergevin.
It can be debated whose version of events is correct here. Little of that matters right now. Needless to say, scenarios made sense for Bouchard to push back negotiations. After all, someone could come knocking at his door.
So, the lateral move of leaving was better than him staying with the Montreal organization. Anaheim promising Bouchard a potential head coaching job while he waits a year seemed to be logical. Ultimately, we will see what happens with that last scenario.
Either way, Anaheim benefits greatly from this move. Yet, Montreal is still in good hands with what Bouchard left.
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So, what about Marc Bergevin?
The final question could be the biggest one. Does Marc Bergevin sign an extended deal or a shorter contract? There have been all sorts of debate and speculation here.
There are a slew of questions surrounding the #Habs and in particular Marc Bergevin's future with the team. He was tight-lipped when discussing his contract status on Friday, leading to speculation that he might not stick around after next season. https://t.co/627iCnO8hP
— Brendan Kelly (@brendanshowbiz) July 12, 2021
Again, this is another case of posturing but for what? No one truly knows. However, as always, the question will be asked. Bergevin earned this “time equity” with this Stanley Cup run. It will validate his decisions even if it does not directly.
As it is, Bergevin has plenty of work to do in the coming weeks. Like we mentioned above, there is the expansion draft. After that lies the NHL Draft. Oh, there is the free agency period too. This is all while trying to sign all his free agents that Bergevin would like to keep. In all, the general manager has seven UFA’s and two RFA’s. The UFA’s are headlined by Phillip Danault and the RFA’s by Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
Hopefully, Marc Bergevin has his workout drink ready to go. He is going to need it. As for his future, Bergevin seems to worry about the present. Stay tuned on the future.