While he remains with the Canadiens for now, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman is reporting that teams have begun to call general manager Marc Bergevin about his captain.
“Some teams that don’t want to go in free agency… they have called Montreal and asked about Max Pacioretty,” Friedman said during the second intermission of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Pacioretty, 29, was one of the big names rumoured to be traded at the deadline, but ultimately, a move wasn’t made. Friedman said the renewed interest from other teams comes in the aftermath of Evander Kane signing a seven-year, $49 million contract with the San Jose Sharks, taking a scoring winger out of the free agent market.
Pacioretty had a down year by his standards this season, posting only 17 goals and 37 points in 64 games. But before that he had scored more than 30 goals in four consecutive seasons and he still has some prime years left to provide some secondary scoring off the wing.
Pacioretty has one year remaining on his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. Friedman reports that some teams interested in trading for him are also asking about a potential sign-and-trade with the Canadiens to guarantee Paccioretty’s services for more than one year.
“I think (teams) are also wondering… what he might want as an extension,” Friedman said. “So I think there’s been some asking about the possibility for a sign-and-trade for Pacioretty. So we’ll see where that goes.”
The Canadiens finished 29-40-13 record which was third last in the Eastern Conference. Despite the down year, Bergevin said in a recent interview that he believes his team can improve if the core players bounce back.
“Obviously the game today is based around speed, speed, speed. Look at the teams that are having success; speed is the foundation of their game. In that regard, I don’t think we are that far off,” Bergevin said. “I think we do have a fast team, but we have to do some tweaking. Some of our top guys had down seasons too, so expectations are higher, both from the outside and on themselves. It’s important that they find their games again. If they do that, we’ll be back in the mix.”
Time will tell if Pacioretty is part of that solution in Montreal.