February 26, 2018 | 9:00pm ET
TheFourthPeriod.com

HABS STAY FIRM ON PACIORETTY HIGH PRICE; CAPTAIN SPEAKS OUT

 
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Max Pacioretty, captain

 

Marc Bergevin was one of those general managers we thought would be very active today before the 3pm ET trade deadline, but the Montreal Canadiens GM played it safe. 

The big name everyone in Montreal counted on being dealt was Max Pacioretty. The Habs captain has been at the forefront of trade rumours dating back to December and he was under a tremendous amount of scrutiny by media and fans in Montreal in the coming weeks.

Having a lackluster season, with only 17 goals in 61 games, Pacioretty has been visible frustrated in Montreal, but now he’s sticking around for the rest of the season, at least.

During his post-trade deadline press conference, Bergevin indicated he “took calls on a few players,” but ultimately stood pat on Pacioretty.

This was a must-do for Bergevin in the eyes of the hockey world. A GM who has had his head on a chopping block, at least from a public stanpoint, wrapped up the trade deadline leaving his most movable asset unused, not to mention the surplus of salary cap space he could have worked with to build his team or obtain draft pick compensation to carry another team’s dead weight for the rest of the season.

Bergevin did not go into much detail on the specific matter of Pacioretty or any potential deal that fell through or did not materialize. In addition to Pacioretty, the Canadiens were reportedly fielding calls for forwards Andrew Shaw, Alex Galchenyuk and Paul Byron, and defencemen Jordie Benn and Davis Schlemko. Bergevin noted there was nothing he would have done differently based on the discussions he had, even with the unused cap space. 

“There was nothing out there that was offered for us to do something like that,” Bergevin said.

TFP had been told that the asking price for Pacioretty was extremely high – believed to be a young centre or top-pair defenceman, a first-round draft pick and at least one more asset – something many teams shun away from. Those teams who reportedly made a push were the Anaheim Ducks, Florida Panthers and Los Angeles Kings. 

Pacioretty is one of those players whose longevity is being thrown into question. Is he declining, or is he having an off-season? Bergevin has faith in the team he has and what they are doing moving forward. 

“I’m sure we’ll see the Max we all know during the last 21 games of the season,” Bergein said.

For the 29-year-old captain to reach his usual 30 goal mark, he will need to score 13 goals in his next 21 games, and as well all know, scoring has not exactly been in the cards for the Canadiens this season. 

So why not make a big move today? Bergevin gave the media a hint at what is expected to come in the summer.

“We have some young players who are coming through now,” he said, “so if you look around the league, most teams, their core guys come through the Draft and with the picks, that’s what we’re trying to do – going with young, speed, and character so we will build around on that.”

PACIORETTY SPEAKS UP

[Updated: 11:42pm ET]
Following Montreal’s shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night, Pacioretty confirmed to the assembled media that he did not ask for a trade and reiterated “it’s been an emotional couple of days.”

“I’m looking forward to hopefully finding answers as to why this happened,” he said, as quoted by The Athletic’s Arpon Basu. “I want to be a part of this group. It’s obvious that given my contract, given where I stand on the team, that there’s holes to plug in this lineup and I could be a candidate to fill those holes, but I hope that’s not the case. Maybe making it through the trade deadline and some conversations that have already started in the sense of trying to get on the same page and trying to work through this together as a group, hopefully we can figure out a way to keep this group intact and win hockey games building up to next year.

“I’ve said all I think I need to say about where I stand in this city and in this organization. I live here 12 months out of the year, so Montreal's home to me. Once again, I can’t say it enough, I’m a human being and just remember I have three kids and I want things to work here.”