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Hughes: Good, Gutsy And Opportunistic

By JD Lagrange – Since being named General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens, Kent Hughes has been in the limelight. More than what he’s used to. He probably feels like he’s living the lyrics of an old song from The Police: “Every breath you take, and every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take, I’ll be watching you!”

Right now, Hughes is still at the honeymoon stage of his relationship with Habs’ fans. Everything he does is applauded and praised, particularly by a portion of the fanbase who simply couldn’t wait to see the previous management gone. But here’s the reality: he has made some great decisions, yes, but he also has greatly benefited from that same previous management and their decisions… and getting credit for it.

He is able to focus on the GM duties only, since Geoff Molson made the correct decision by separating the V-P of Hockey Operations (giving it to Jeff Gorton) and the GM job into two distinct positions.

Good

Here are some of the good moves that he’s make, on his own (or with the help of Jeff Gorton). These moves have nothing to do with Marc Bergevin and Trevor Timmins and he should get all of the credit, or shared with his V-P of Hockey Operations.

Opportunistic

Then, there are some opportunistic moves. Those are decisions based on the situation that he has walked into, things that he knew about when taking the job. The fact that the Canadiens were amongst the worst teams in the NHL was a huge contributing factor, opening the door to some rare opportunities.

Marc Bergevin and Trevor Timmins

Gutsy

Canadiens’ fans are lucky, particularly after a long time of conservative GMs. For a second time in a row, they have a General Manager who is not afraid of making moves, and taking hard decisions. Hughes has made a few decisions that we can qualify as “gutsy”.

Kirby Dach

True test coming

Those who thought that Hughes was coming in as Gorton’s puppet better think again. He is an excellent hockey mind who isn’t afraid of thinking outside the box. The hiring of St-Louis is a prime example, as is trading for Monahan. But the true test is coming.

For one thing, Hughes took a gamble at center by acquiring salary and not one, but two injury riddled players. Then, he has a few more hurdles ahead of him. What will happen to Brendan Gallagher and Mike Hoffman? There is a huge gaping hole on the right side of the defense, a crater created by Weber’s situation but also by Petry’s departure. The goaltending situation with Price out of commission is a big question mark. And then, Cole Caufield’s contract will need to be renewed. No time to rest Kent. You have your work cut-out.

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