Max Pacioretty has been a staple in the Montreal Canadiens lineup ever since he broke in the NHL. In the midst of his worst season ever, the trade winds are beginning swirl as Pacioretty’s name is involved in trade talks. Who would think a proud organization like the Canadiens would trade their captain? Nick Kyreos of Sporsnet has it on good knowledge, the Canadiens are looking to move Max Pacioretty.
During the Headline segment on Hockey Night in Canada Kypreos told the panel the Canadiens are “actively shopping” their captain.
“While an eventual trade may include draft picks and prospects, it’s been clear to other teams that Bergevin’s top priority is moving [Pacioretty] for a top goal-scorer,” Cypress went on to say.
Many would wonder why the Canadiens would trade a player of Pacioretty’s caliber. For one thing the Canadiens have a history of getting rid of these type of players. Just look at the whole P.K. Subban trade situation. Subban was a producer for the Canadiens. Not only was he a fan favorite, but he was the face of the Canadiens. As a matter of fact GM Marc Bergevin came out and stated the team “would not trade P.K. Subban.” However, everyone knows how that story played out as Subban was dealt to Nashville for Shea Weber.
Now the Canadiens are in a similar situation. In his 10 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, Pacioretty has scored 30 or more goals in five seasons. Through 38 games this season Pacioretty has registered only eight goals. Pacioretty has not played this poorly since he was a rookie in the NHL. For a player who is dynamic goal scorer something is clearly wrong. Is there a correlation between Pacioretty’s poor play and his role as captain on the team?
Elliotte Freidman of Sportsbet believes so as he told the panel Saturday night. “[Pacioretty] feels he has the responsibility to come up with some sort of answer for the media and he’s just grasping at straws to try to provide reasons for why he and the team aren’t going very well.”
One of the biggest reasons Montreal continues to struggle is the fact the team did not address their needs in the off-season. Letting players like Alexander Radulov and Andrei Markov go via free agency were not popular moves amongst the fans. Montreal believed the team needed to get younger in order to get better. As a matter of fact Montreal traded for Jonathan Drouin. Though Drouin is a dynamic player and goal scorer, he is not producing at the same rate as Radulov did. The biggest need for Montreal is down the middle and defense.
When is the right time to trade Pacioretty? Is it before the trade deadline or during the NHL draft? That is what Marc Bergevin will have to decide. Remember it took Colorado over a year to trade Matt Duchene. General Manager Joe Sakic had an asking price and did not waiver on that price. Bergevin will have to be diligent when it comes to trading the captain of the Montreal Canadiens. He cannot settle on any old trade. If the trade does not happen right away there is no reason to rush it. If Bergevin can play the waiting game, the Montreal general manager can get what he is asking for.
Another issue for Montreal is if they do indeed trade Pacioretty, he could break out of his scoring slump at any moment. Though the Canadiens are sitting sixth in the Atlantic, the team is still pushing for the playoffs. Montreal needs all the help they can get with scoring. If Pacioretty is traded, he could end up burning his former club. This is a tricky situation. On the one hand, this player still has something left to give at 29 years old. On the other hand a change of scenery and a lesser role might have Pacioretty regain his scoring tough.
Going forward Montreal will be an interesting watch to see how the team handles Max Pacioretty. There is never a dull moment when it comes to the Montreal Canadiens. Right now the Canadiens and Pacioretty are focused on their next opponent.
Stay tuned as the drama unfolds in Montreal.