When one contract is signed, it is so easy to make comparisons across the board in the National Hockey League. One situation that desperately needs comparables is the one that faces the Montreal Canadiens and their captain Max Pacioretty.
Pacioretty did mention during his golf tournament at the start of last week that he had not heard from the Canadiens in terms of a new contract. 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.
However, today's news of Blake Wheeler's new contract with the Winnipeg Jets has a lot of pundits talking about the impact on the Pacioretty's expected contract. According to Mathias Brunet of La Presse, "some are already tempted to draw a parallel with Max Pacioretty. Both are captains of their respective clubs. Both were playing for less than their production and had a valid contract for another year. How, comparisons stop there."
Wheeler, who led the Jets with a career-high 91 points (23 goals, 68 assists) last season, good for ninth in NHL scoring, signed a five-year contract extension in Winnipeg. The deal announced Tuesday is worth US$41.25 million, with an average annual value of $8.25 million. You cannot in your right frame of mind believe that Pacioretty's value is the same as Wheeler's.
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.
"His status in Montreal is precarious, but his value seems to get more clear. With the signing of the Wheeler contract, we have a clearer idea: Pacioretty is not worth 8.2 or even 8 million per season," writes Brunet, translated from French.
On the other hand, Brunet believes Pacioretty can still expect at least $ 7 million a season, as Evander Kane just got it with the San Jose Sharks. however, if Pacioretty was dreaming of 8 or even 9 million per season, the signing of Wheeler's contract is not very good news for the Habs' captain.