Canadiens GM search down to three candidates, could be resolved in coming days

Montreal Canadiens players and coaching staff look on from the bench against a backdrop of empty seats during second period NHL hockey action against the Philadelphia Flyers in Montreal, Thursday, December 16, 2021. (Graham Hughes/CP)

The Montreal Canadiens are down to three candidates for a new general manager and the search could be resolved in the coming days, according to Sportsnet’s Eric Engels.

Engels is reporting Daniel Briere and Mathieu Darche are two of the final candidates for the position, which was vacated when long-time GM Marc Bergevin was fired on Nov. 28.

The Canadiens then appointed Jeff Gorton as executive VP of hockey operations, with whom the new GM will work with in tandem.

Briere, 44, played 973 games in the NHL, largely with Phoenix, Philadelphia and Buffalo, although he did spend one season with the Canadiens toward the end of his career. Briere, from Gatineau, Que., is currently in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Portland (Maine) Mariners of the ECHL.

Darche, 45, played 250 games in the NHL, primarily in Columbus’ system and with the Canadiens. The native of St-Laurent, Que., is currently the director of hockey operations for the two-time Stanley Cup-champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

Engels added that other candidates who are not selected for the GM job will be considered for other roles with the team.

The Canadiens, who just last season were surprise Stanley Cup finalists against the Lightning, are missing superstar goaltender Carey Price and captain Shea Weber and are off to their worst start in franchise history, sitting last overall with a 7-24-5 record.

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