I suppose anything is possible, this is the hockey team that traded Chris Chelios and Patrick Roy in their primes but the idea seems so far off the wall to be in just plain nuts.
The rumour started making the rounds. as they tend to do when a player is in a slump as like Pacioretty’s through the first month and a half of the season. But now? Even the New York Post’s Larry Brooks called the idea “inexplicable” when he included the rumour in his Sunday Slap Shots Column.
It seems inexplicable, but Slap Shots has heard continued chatter about the Canadiens’ willingness to trade Max Pacioretty, the 25-year-old winger who apparently isn’t Michel Therrien’s ideal. …….We’re told the Islanders and Flyers are taking serious runs at Pacioretty, who has a club-friendly contract worth $4.5 million per that runs through 2018-19, but Montreal GM Marc Bergevin isn’t prone to dealing him in the East — if he’s willing to deal him at all after the roster freeze melts after Friday night’s games.
Not “Michel Therrien’s ideal”? That may be true. But who is ideal? The Canadiens have players who crash the net and look for rebounds and still don’t score goals in bunches. Sometimes a coach has to live with something less than his view of the “ideal player”.
In the unlikelihood there is some truth to the rumour, what Marc Bergevin would be trading is the league’s second highest goalscorer in the last month. In the seventeen games since November 17th when Pacioretty scored that hattrick against the Minnesota Wild, only Alex Ovechkin with 16, has scored more goals than Pacioretty’s 13. (Anaheim’s Corey Perry also has 13). Do you trade away a player who’s clearly on track for another 30 goal season from a team that is embarrassingly bereft of consistent offense?
To me Pacioretty is Michael Ryder with speed. Both Pacioretty and Ryder have shown a great ability to shoot the puck with quickness and accuracy, plus the skill to find open ice; in other words they are natural goalscorers. Neither is a regular inhabitant of the dirty areas in front of the net which this day seems to be the only way goals are scored regularly and where I’m sure Therrien would like to see Pacioretty more often. That said, each has been regular a regular 30 goal scorer. The Canadiens let Ryder go through free agency, I suppose, if the deal is right, why not Pacioretty?
It’s no secret Bergevin is looking to add size and toughness. Pacioretty already gives the Canadiens that size, although he could use it a little more frequently, and his toughness is highlighted by his ability to come back from injury. So Bergevin, who we’ve found is no fool, will have to not only replace 30 goals but also Pacioretty’s soeed, size and toughness and still find a way to make his team better. That, my friends will be some kind of deal if it ever happens. We’re talking a blockbuster, multi player and maybe multi-team deal. Those are so rare in the Cap Era, as to be almost extinct.
Still, anything can happen. Pacioretty has a very attractive 4.5 million dollar annual cap hit that will run through the next five seasons which means one of those budget-conscious small market teams might be interested especially if Bergevin were to throw in one of those highly regarded defensemen he has in Hamilton. That’s probably why Evander Kane’s name comes up in the rumour mill although I’m a bigger fan of Winnipeg captain Andrew Ladd who is probably untouchable. But there would have to be a lot more coming back than just one player to make Bergevin even return the phone call.
Brooks. in his New York Post column seems to think the Flyers and Islanders are snooping around. Can’t imagine what the Islanders could give up to make Bergevin happy. (Not even Garth Snow would trade John Tavares). The Flyers have done some really dumb things during the Paul Holmgren era, surely they wouldn’t consider Claude Giroux would they? Maybe a package that includes Wayne Simmonds or Sean Couturier and maybe one of those Hamilton defencemen of which Flyers are in notorious short supply.
Anyway, the trade window opens again on Friday. Will the Canadiens trade Max Pacioretty? I don’t think so. Unless there’s somebody out there willing to break their player bank.
Nice rumour from Larry Brooks, who’s generally pretty plugged in.