June 2, 2018 | 10:46pm ET
CALLS PICKING UP ON PACIORETTY
Max Pacioretty, left wing
The Montreal Canadiens have a difficult decision ahead of them this off-season, as the need to bolster both their centre position and their blueline is a priority.
With the Canadiens drafting third-overall in this month’s NHL Draft, many believe the club will likely select either Filip Zadina or Brady Tkachuk, with Zadina the expected pick. While Tkachuk can play up the middle, neither are natural centres.
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin and his staff must decide what route to take if they plan on strengthening other areas of their roster, with a potential top-six winger entering the fold.
Habs captain Max Pacioretty has been the subject of numerous trade rumours this season, and while he’s repeatedly voiced his desire to stay in Montreal, the Canadiens are expected to continue to entertain calls for him.
During Saturday night’s “Headlines” segment on Hockey Night in Canada during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, Elliotte Friedman reported that “some teams that don’t want to go into free agency or don’t want to do that, I think they’ve recalled Montreal and asked about Max Pacioretty.”
Pacioretty has one-year remaining on his contract and cannot officially sign an extension until July 1, but the two sides can still speak.
However, Friedman noted there are some teams inquiring about Pacioretty’s long-term plans and that could play a factor in trade discussions.
“I think there’s been some asking about the possibility of a sign-and-trade, about maybe for Pacioretty,” Friedman said. “We’ll see where that goes.”
Several teams expressed interest in Pacioretty this season, including the Los Angeles Kings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks, and it’s possible they revisit talks this month.