If you thought Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty's past season had been the rollercoaster ride, you ain't seen nothing yet! On Thursday, Martin McGuire of 98.5 Sports in Montreal claimed to have received information from the draft floor in Dallas that suggested the Canadiens were on the verge of trading their captain. Not only that but that additionally the Canadiens had granted the Los Angeles Kings permission to speak with Pacioretty's agent regarding a contract extension.
"We now know, based on the information that we have just received, here in Dallas over the last few hours, that Max Pacioretty will be leaving the Montreal Canadiens," said McGuire. "It has become almost inevitable. Pacioretty will not be with the team come next autumn. There will soon be a divorce between Pacioretty and the Canadiens."
It feels like the Habs forward has spent the entire past season on the trade block. And once again, Pacioretty is at the centre of conflicting reports since the rumour of a deal in place with the Kings was denied by his own agent, as reported by Dennis Bernstein of The Fourth Period. Pacioretty's agent stated that no team has received permission to speak to his client from the Canadiens. In fact Pacioretty's agent is claiming that no team has so much as asked for any such permission - and we now understand why the agent is putting up such a harsh and blunt rebuttal to McGuire's initial report.
If the Kings are indeed discussing a deal with Pacioretty, it would completely illegal for them to do so! Free agents from 2019 are only allowed to discuss contract extensions starting on July 1st, and clearly the window is too early for Los Angeles to dare and break this rule. If not, this illegal move could blow this Pacioretty blockbuster trade apart!
While the Kings could still be interested in landing the Habs' captain, the original report stating that Pacioretty is expected to be traded at the draft tonight could take another twist. Los Angeles could decide to wait and announce the transaction only at the opening of free agency season on July 1st. The rumour mentioned that Tyler Toffoli, Gabriel Vilardi or Jeff Carter could be on the return end of the trade, however, these players will also have to wait and see for the final outcome.
If ever Pacioretty is indeed traded to the Kings in the next hours, some people might question how legal the whole deal was in the first place...