With the calendar set to flip to August, and NHL training camps on the horizon, this much seems true: Max Pacioretty’s long-term future does not lie in Montreal. His trade from the Canadiens seems to be more of a matter of when, and not if, but that could take some time, according to a new report.
Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette reported Monday that Marc Bergevin has been having trouble getting market value in offers for the team captain.
Pacioretty, a five-time 30-goal scorer, is one of two players (along with Alex Ovechkin) to reach the 30-goal plateau in each season between 2013 and 2017. In 2017-18, Pacioretty (much like the Canadiens) had a down year: he scored 17 goals, his lowest full-season total since his rookie campaign, while scoring on a career-low 8-percent of his shots.
ROUNDUP: Max Pacioretty’s days with the Canadiens are numbered
Now Pacioretty is set to enter the final season of his current contract, a six-year, $27 million that paid him $4.5 million annually. Earlier in July, The Athletic reported Bergevin and the Canadiens were looking to move Pacioretty ‘as soon as possible,’ making it seem like a trade could be consummated this offseason.
While that dip in production certainly could have put a dent in Pacioretty’s trade value — even on a cheap, expiring deal — Kelly reports that there’s also a general knowledge around the league that Montreal will move Pacioretty, hurting Bergevin’s hand
The problem for Bergevin is he’s been trying to trade Pacioretty for months and so far it hasn’t worked. So the other 30 general managers know Bergevin is desperate because it’s almost unimaginable that the Habs captain will start the year with Montreal. The other GMs can offer less than market value for him, knowing full well that Bergevin doesn’t have much room to manoeuvre.
What I’m hearing from very reliable sources is that Canadiens management has been unhappy with Pacioretty for a while. Remember that controversy when it was alleged former coach Michel Therrien was overheard at a golf tournament saying Patches was the worst captain in Canadiens history? Well where there’s smoke, there’s fire. I’m hearing that Therrien and his close friend Bergevin shared the same view of not-so-mad-Max.
The problem that ostensibly creates, for Bergevin and his front office, is the sign written in red paint on the window that says “for sale,” and opposing GMs, with that knowledge, not needing to offer an ‘A’ package knowing Pacioretty could be had for free (at a higher salary number) next summer. The Canadiens already know they’ll be without defenseman Shea Weber until roughly December while he recovers from offseason knee surgery, and already traded Alex Galchenyuk this summer for Max Domi.
The Canadiens missed the playoffs in 2018, the second time in the past three seasons Montreal has failed to qualify for the postseason. Under Bergevin, the Canadiens have made four trips to the playoffs in six seasons, and have won a combined three rounds.