January 23, 2018 | 10:46pm ET



Max Pacioretty, captain


Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty is admittedly frustrated by his team’s poor season and the trade rumours circling around him, but he told reporters Tuesday afternoon his preference is to stay in Montreal.

Pacioretty, 29, has one-year left on his contract after this season and comes with a very modest $4.5 million salary cap hit.

He’s been the subject of trade speculation for a good portion of the season, and while he understands this type of banter is part of the game, especially when the team is struggling, he has no desire to leave Montreal.

“You feel it could have been avoidable and you feel like the team could have done better,” Pacioretty told the Montreal Gazette. “Really, it’s up to everyone both in this room and everyone involved (in the organization) to make sure that this team at least makes the playoffs every year. So when that isn’t the case, people are going to be looking for change and for answers. But at the same time, I know that with wearing the ‘C’ they’re going to point the finger at me first and I understand that comes with the territory.”

Pacioretty added his family loves the city, and they recently bought a new home last summer in town, where they spent their off-season.

“Enzo (the oldest son at 4) understands it when he starts talking about different teams on TV and starts asking me questions,” Pacioretty said. “I don’t know if he’s heard anything at school or not, but he hasn’t said anything to me. He’s a pretty bright kid … I like to think he understands more than I think he does.

“(My children) bleed bleu-blanc-rouge... they have all the jerseys, toys, sticks, pucks, anything you could imagine. So hopefully it can stay that way.”

Several teams have been linked to having interest in Pacioretty, including the St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets, but a trade is not believed to be imminent.

Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is willing to listen to offers for Pacioretty, but the asking price is believed to be significant and unless the Habs are blown away by an offer, they’re unlikely to trade their captain.

Pacioretty currently ranks No.8 on TFP's Top 30 Available Players List.