Even before the Canadiens were hammered by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night, some “soul searching” occurred in Montreal’s front office.
That happened following the club’s 5-4 loss to the last-place Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, according to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos.
“There’s a sense that there might be a meeting of the minds between ownership and [general manager] Marc Bergevin and that this core group is not good enough to build around moving forward,” Kypreos said on Hockey Night in Canada during Saturday’s Headlines segment, which aired just before the Canadiens suffered a dreadful 6-0 loss.
“We throw out the terms ‘rebuild,’ ‘reset,’ ‘retool,’ but there is a sense that Montreal will be leaning toward this.”
The Canadiens, losers of three straight, have just 18 points in 21 games this campaign, currently sitting third-last in the Atlantic Division. Montreal was bounced from last season’s playoffs in the first round.
Kypreos noted that reshaping the club is a long process that can’t be achieved overnight, but “the sense is moving forward we’ll see less patchwork to try to crawl into the playoffs, and a bigger approach would be thinking about what this team may look like in the next two or three years.”
Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty could be among players the team considers moving, Kypreos speculated.
“I personally think he’s drowning in Montreal,” he said, before comparing Pacioretty’s situation to that of Phil Kessel’s time in Toronto.
Pacioretty is Montreal’s best forward and has reached the 30-goal, 60-point mark in his past five full seasons. The 28-year-old’s contract will expire at the end of the 2018-19 campaign. He carries a $4.5-million cap hit both this season and next.