SportsJake Gardiner joins long list of free agents to turn down Canadiens

08:05  11 september  2019
08:05  11 september  2019 Source:   montrealgazette.com

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Jake Gardiner joins long list of free agents to turn down Canadiens© John Mahoney Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, left, and head coach Claude Julien watch team of Habs rookies play against Quebec university all-star team’s at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019.

It might be the weather, the taxes, language issues, the bright spotlight on and off the ice, or the fact the Canadiens haven’t been very good, missing the playoffs in three of the last four years.

Whatever the reason, top NHL free agents don’t want to come to Montreal.

Last summer, John Tavares wouldn’t even meet with the Canadiens before signing with Toronto. This summer, Matt Duchene agreed to meet with the Canadiens before signing with Nashville, but that might have just been a favour to his agent, Pat Brisson, who is a good friend of Habs GM Marc Bergevin.

Canes get steal in Gardiner - the most underappreciated Leaf of a generation

Canes get steal in Gardiner - the most underappreciated Leaf of a generation Jake Gardiner was the easy scapegoat. In back-to-back first-round Game 7 losses to the Boston Bruins, the heavily scrutinized Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman didn't bring his best stuff. Could he have played better? Absolutely. Was he the primary reason for his club's early playoff exits? Absolutely not. After Gardiner signed a four-year, $16.2-million deal with the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday, most Toronto fans will simply say "good riddance," with Game 7 turnovers imprinted in their minds as they reflect on his tenure in blue and white.

Last week, Jake Gardiner agreed to a four-year, US$16.2-million contract with Carolina after the Canadiens offered him a three-year deal reported to be worth US$15.7 million.

“I don’t think there’s anything we could do,” Bergevin said Monday when asked about the free-agent situation. “I think it’s a case-by-case (situation). There’s players who do want to come here, for whatever reason they want to. And some don’t, for whatever reason they don’t want to. So I can’t answer that. But I’m not going to sit here and say there’s no way they don’t want to come here. It’s case by case and in that case (with Gardiner) only that player can answer why.”

Bergevin did sign two free agents this summer — defenceman Ben Chiarot and goalie Keith Kinkaid.

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Max Domi, who was acquired by the Canadiens last summer from Arizona in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk, embraced everything that comes with playing in Montreal and had his best NHL season, posting 28-44-72 totals.

“It’s a small league, right?” Domi said. “Word travels fast. It’s a tight-knit group. All hockey players get along, we all talk, we all see each other in the summer. Obviously, not just in the media, when I talk to guys at skates or at workouts, they ask how it is. I say: ‘I love it here. Everything about it is awesome.’ That’s all you can really do. You can’t force guys to come play anywhere or tell them what to do. They’ll make their own decision. I think as a whole, we all kind of share how it feels to play here, which is awesome. It’s all positive stuff. So hopefully in the long run that helps us out.”


Paul Byron lives year-round on Montreal’s South Shore and was asked what advice he gives newcomers like Chiarot and Kinkaid.

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“I think they’re all kind of shocked at how much attention there is here in Montreal,” Byron said. “That’s kind of the same way I felt. So I just try and tell them to kind of get used to it. Give them some guidance where to live, where to go, what to expect coming to this city. I think a lot of guys are excited to be here. You walk in that room the first time, you see the names, the numbers, the pictures. It’s a historic place to play here in Montreal. Everyone’s incredibly lucky to get this opportunity. We’re all really excited to get started again because it’s a fun place to play.”



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Canadiens Notebook: Cayden Primeau, Otto Leskinen sent down to Laval .
The Canadiens made two more cuts to their training-camp roster on Sunday morning, sending goalie Cayden Primeau and defenceman Otto Leskinen down to the AHL’s Laval Rocket, who will start their training camp on Monday. The Canadiens made their first cuts at training camp on Saturday, sending 14 players down to the Rocket: Morgan Adams-Moisan, Connor LaCouvee, Ryan Culkin, David Sklenicka, William Pelletier, Nikita Jevpalovs, Joe Cox, Antoine Waked, Michael Pezzetta, Alexandre Alain, Hayden Verbeek, Michael McNiven, Maxim Lamarche and Lukas Vejdemo. There are now 40 players remaining at the Canadiens training camp, including those on the injured list.

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