What has taken place within the last few hours in the front office of the Montreal Canadiens is beyond crazy. Earlier today, reporter Martin Leclerc of Radio-Canada has revealed that captain Max Pacioretty is the one looking to be traded from the Canadiens. According to three of Leclerc's sources from the team itself, the captain 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.
"During the last season, it was Pacioretty himself who asked to leave Montreal several times and asked for an exchange. This information is confirmed by three sources well aware of the file. You read correctly: three sources. In concrete," writes Leclerc, translated from French.
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 made a trade of his own, by firing Pat Brisson and hiring Allan Walsh of Octagon-Hockey. Walsh responded to Thursday’s report by tweeting Pacioretty was eager to sign a new deal with the Canadiens and would do so TODAY if he could.
"Obvious these “sources” are coming from the club. Max will always take the high road and repeats again, he is ready to sign an extension with Montreal TODAY. It was Montreal that traded Max to LA at the draft and it was a DONE DEAL subject to Max signing an extension with LA."
Walsh wasn't the only one to pull a rant on Twitter; Pacioretty's former teammate Lars Eller, now with the defending champions Washington Capitals, has used social media to defend his former captain.
"As a friend, I hope Max Pacioretty’s situation is resolved soon. He has shouldered one of the toughest jobs in hockey wearing the C for the CH, taking responsibility and blame for things beyond his control. At the same time being one of the top goal scorers in the game.
He is as committed and cares as much as anyone I’ve ever played with. Any team would be lucky to have him."
Pacioretty 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. It was a past difficult season for the captain, who scored just 17 goals, following four consecutive 30-goal seasons.
He can surely count on the support of many players, including Eller who feels for Pacioretty.