What happens next when things go bad to worse... what is worse than worst? It appears to be the case in the ongoing trade saga involving the Montreal Canadiens and their captain Max Pacioretty.
On Wednesday, Pacioretty has made it clears that he has set a deadline on his contract negotiations. It has been revealed by sources who informed Sportsnet's Eric Engels on that the Habs forward will hold off all talks about a new deal once the regular season begins on Oct. 3rd.
He will abstain from negotiations not just with the Habs, but with any other team interested in acquiring him, a source close to the player's camp told Engels, presumably taking into account the possibility of a trade. Marc de Foy of the Journal de Montreal also reported the news.
We still do not know if Pacioretty will be traded by the opening of the season, whether he will sign on the spot a contract extension with the team that will acquire him, or whether he will, in a surprising scenario, sign a extension with the Habs. But we now know that it could make the left winger very tough to move. He would then become a playoff-rental player, meaning the Canadiens won’t get as much back via trade as they would if he was under contract beyond the coming season.
Pacioretty is a pending unrestricted free agent, who is entering the final campaign of the six-year, $27-million pact he inked with Montreal in 2012. The veteran forward 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.
The Canadiens reportedly came close to trading Pacioretty at the draft, but the deal fell through. While some reporters mentioned that Pacioretty was the one looking for a way out of Montreal, his agent Allan Walsh has been adamant about his client wanting to stick with the Canadiens.
"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," said Walsh on TSN 690.
It is reportedly general manager Marc Bergevin who told his captain in July that the club would not negotiate an extension with him and was attempting to deal him as soon as possible.
The deadline Pacioretty has just imposed might changes things quite drastically before the start of the season...