Sometimes in life, it is alright to be picky. It happens to every single one of us; we want the best for ourselves and sometimes have very high expectations for what is to come. In this very sense, you cannot blame Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty. The poor guy has become the National Hockey League's biggest trade bait this season, and this summer, as his name keeps being used and reused in trade chatter.
During the draft weekend, the league was almost witness to a major trade involving Pacioretty, which eventually fell through. For a while, it was believed that the Habs top forward was on his way to the Los Angeles Kings, and then, he was back in an awkward spot in Montreal.
“The belief is that there was a deal in place with the Los Angeles Kings for Pacioretty, and that it didn’t get done because there wasn’t the ability to get a contract extension done,” NHL insider Bob McKenzie explained to TSN Radio Montreal 690. “And obviously complicating things was that, as I understand it, the contract offer that Pacioretty got went through his agent, Pat Brisson, on Friday and by Saturday morning, Pacioretty had changed agents, and had gone to Allan Walsh."
Things might have gotten more awkward in the Canadiens' front office and dressing room as NHL insider Elliotte Friedman revealed on his Sportsnet's 31 Thoughts podcast on Thursday that Pacioretty is believed to have refused a trade to the Buffalo Sabres around the opening of free agency.
While Pacioretty cannot say no to every single team he does not like, he holds the power to inform the teams if he attends to re-sign there, seeing that he is currently entering the last year of his contract. If a team, for example the Sabres, already know they will move important assets for Pacioretty, who in the end, won't re-sign with the club, they will forget about the trade and focus their energy and return assets elsewhere.
Which, of course, complicates a lot of things for Habs general manager Marc Bergevin. And let's just say things are already pretty complicated in Montreal...
Earlier this morning, it was announced that veteran defenseman Shea Weber will be out for an extended period of time after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a meniscal tear in his right knee. His recovery period is expected to be five to six months. The surgery was performed by orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Robert LaPrade in Vail, Colorado.
This could bring Pacioretty back again on the trade block, in a more urgent way.
“I guess you can never rule out a contract extension with the Canadiens, but I also still think there’s a lot of balls in the air for a lot of teams this week and Pacioretty could still be one of those," said McKenzie, prior to the opening of free agency. "So I’m not at the point now where I would say, ‘Oh well, they couldn’t get it done. They’re not going to get it done. They can sort out whether they’re going to get an extension done."
Maybe Pacioretty will have to say no to other teams before the Habs can complete a trade that makes them and their captain happy.