On Tuesday, Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty, GM Marc Bergevin, and owner Geoff Molson were all at the player’s charity golf event where the top question on everyone’s mind was whether or not a contract extension was on the way.
Bergevin and Molson didn’t get too specific when asked about it, other than to say they expected Pacioretty to be at training camp in September. Pacioretty was a little more on the nose in saying there had been no contract discussions with the team.
The captain is entering the final season of a deal that counts for $4.5 million against the cap, after which he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.
On Thursday, Martin Leclerc of Radio-Canada reported that Pacioretty had requested a trade out of Montreal several times last season and in fact had previously asked to be moved during the 2013-14 season as well. Leclerc states his information was confirmed by three sources.
Pacioretty was nearly traded to the Los Angeles Kings on draft weekend in June before the deal fell apart when, according to Sportsnet’s Eric Engels, Pacioretty passed on a six-year, $36-million extension from what would have been his new team. Shortly after, Pacioretty fired his agent Pat Brisson and hired Allan Walsh of Octagon-Hockey.
Walsh responded to Thursday’s report by tweeting Pacioretty was eager to sign a new deal with the Canadiens.
Many were looking for Pacioretty to be traded by last season’s February deadline, but after it came and went without a deal the captain spoke to the media, saying he never asked to be moved and wanted to remain with the Canadiens.
“I did not ask for a trade,” Pacioretty said on Feb. 26. “I still have 20 games to worry about finding my game and you know what, I’m not on social media and I don’t have all this stuff. But even just having the TV on today I hope you guys can realize I’m a human being with three kids, and there’s been a lot of stuff… whether it be… I don’t want to go into details… but there’s been a lot of stuff and some of it has been hard to swallow and I care because I care so much about playing here.
“But you guys want to say, or people have asked me if maybe the role of a captain made it harder on myself. But I’ll dispute that all day and say that it’s made it easier on me. I’m looking forward to hopefully finding answers as to why this happened. I want to be a part of this group. It’s obvious that given my contract, given where I stand on the team that there’s holes to plug in this lineup and I could be a candidate to fill those holes, but I hope that’s not the case and maybe making it through the trade deadline, with some conversations I kind of already started in the sense where trying to get on the same page and trying to work through this together as a group hopefully we can figure out a way to keep this group intact and win hockey games building up to next year.”
Further to the report that the only thing keeping Pacioretty from being dealt to the Kings in June was the player’s unwillingness to sign that contract extension, Kings president Luc Robitaille told Jean-Charles Lajoie of 91.9 Sports on Wednesday the process never got that far, suggesting the Kings were more interested in picking up Pacioretty than the Canadiens were in trading him.
Pacioretty is coming off a down year in which he scored just 17 goals, following four consecutive 30-goal seasons.