January 30, 2018 | 9:58pm ET
NO GUARANTEE HABS TRADE PACIORETTY
Max Pacioretty, captain
The Montreal Canadiens will be calls on a number of their players in the next four weeks, but there is no guarantee the team moves captain Max Pacioretty by the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
During Tuesday night’s “Insider Trading” segment on TSN, Pierre LeBrun reported the Canadiens may not trade Pacioretty at all and could decide to wait until the off-season to further explore the possibility of moving him.
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has multiple players he’s been getting calls on, including forwards Tomas Plekanec, Andrew Shaw, who is currently out 4-6 weeks with a lower-body injury, Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher, and defencemen David Schlemko and Jamie Benn, among others, but no deals are believed to be imminent, and some would be much more difficult to complete than others.
Plekanec, 35, is in the final year of his contract and can become an unrestricted free agent this July. The Habs may try to re-sign him, but a pay cut will be in order. If the two sides cannot agree to an extension, Bergevin may move him by the deadline, but will likely need to eat part of his remaining salary this season, as his $6 million salary cap hit is too much most teams are willing to take on.
Pacioretty, 29, has one-year left on his contract after this season and has expressed his desire to stay in Montreal. He’s indicated he has absolutely desire to move and hopes he doesn’t have to.
Several teams have inquired about Pacioretty’s services, though the high price tag Bergevin has put out there – believed to be a young NHL forward, a top prospect and a first-round draft pick – may prevent a move this season altogether.
Pacioretty, Shaw and Plekanec currently rank among those on TFP's Top 30 Available Players List.