January 2, 2018 | 11:58am ET
PACIORETTY NOT FOCUSING ON TRADE TALK
Max Pacioretty, left wing
Max Pacioretty’s name has been swirling around the NHL trade rumours scene since Saturday night, when Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported on Hockey Night in Canada that the Montreal Canadiens’ captain was being “actively” shopped.
The 29-year-old has one-year left on his contract after this season and comes with very affordable $4.5 million salary cap hit.
While a trade is not guaranteed, especially this season, trade talks and speculation will undoubtedly continue, but that doesn’t seem to have Pacioretty overly concerned.
“You just live your life and worry about your family,” he told the Montreal Gazette. “If it happens, it happens. I’m very proud of the past success I’ve had in Montreal. I’ve played here for 10 years and I’ve never gone through something like this. I’ve gone through ups and downs, but never this low.”
Pacioretty, who went without a goal in the month of December, has been trying to work through his cold spell, working with teammates and the coaching staff to get him back on track. He’s always been a streaky scorer, but this slump has been the toughest of his career, to date.
In the past 20 seasons, only two current members have scored 30 or more goals in a season – Alex Galchenyuk (once) and Pacioretty (five times).
Canadiens head coach Claude Julien has spoken with Pacioretty about his game, but refuses to discuss the trade chatter with him.
“Rumours are rumours and why fuel the rumour by talking to him about a rumour,” Julien told the Gazette. “You talk to him about his game and you work with him. As I say, a player will always be my player until he’s gone. Sometimes, I don’t know when that’s going to be, and sometimes he’s not going to be gone. You work with the players you have. We’re all pros and whether it’s a player or coaches, we’re all dealing with that stuff. You have to be able to overcome that to be successful. In Max’s situation with all the rumours, he’s handling it well.”
Several teams will most certainly have serious interest in Pacioretty, but given the Canadiens’ position in the standings – they sit 14th in the Eastern Conference and 28th in the NHL – those clubs may try to lowball Habs GM Marc Bergevin, who cannot afford to make a poor move, as questions over his tenure with the club have continued to pop up, as well.
However, with one more year left on his contract, contending teams may be incline to pay a premium for Pacioretty knowing they’ll have him for at least one additional season.
As Kypreos reported on Saturday, the Canadiens want a young, proven goal-scorer as part of a deal for Pacioretty.
Meanwhile, as TFP reported on Sunday, the Canadiens are also believed to be dangling forwards Andrew Shaw, Tomas Plekanec and Michael McCarron.