The Montreal Canadiens took a ton of heat when they traded fan favourite and one of the NHL’s most exciting players P.K. Subban to Nashville for Shea Weber last summer. Would they consider trading their captain Max Pacioretty or, what would it take for them to consider a move like that?
Nick Kypreos pondered the possibility on Hockey Night in Canada’s Headlines segment Saturday night.
“There’s no indication that Pacioretty wants out of Montreal,” he said. “But it’s clear from a few other teams that they want to watch this situation closely.
“Pacioretty is not being used like a four-time 30-goal scorer by the Montreal Canadiens. There seems to be some friction between Pacioretty and Therrien. A lot of teams are wondering if they’re going to be a team that soely relies on Carey Price and they’re going to have to win more games 2-1 than 5-4, maybe in fact they would think down the road they would move a guy like Pacioretty and go get a top-four defenceman to shore up a porous D right now and a tired Markov.”
To be sure, there have been moments of friction between the captain and coach. Heading into this season, Therrien had to shoot down a report that he had called Pacioretty the “worst captain in Canadiens history,” and in late November he made a post-game comment that many took as a shot at Pacioretty — so again the coach had to deny any intentional challenge to Pacioretty.
“I was trying to say everyone has a job to do,” Therrien said in French. “Did everyone misinterpret it? It certainly wasn’t well received, but I didn’t really like the reaction.”
Pacioretty has seen 20 minutes or more of ice time in a game just four times this season after passing the mark Friday in San Jose. He has five goals and 15 points in 24 games this season, but just one goal and three points in his past nine games.
Still, a trade involving Pacioretty seems far off at this point, and perhaps even highly unlikely. Elliotte Friedman noted that Pacioretty’s contract comes with great value in a cap league, which would make a move even more difficult for Montreal.
“I think it’s a tough trade to make,” Friedman said before emphasizing the speculation in this. “If, if you’re the Montreal Canadiens and you go down the road Nick presented it’s going to be a tough deal to make with a good scorer who makes $4.5 million. How are you going to get equal value in this league?”