Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty has been in play on the NHL trade market now for months, but despite early reports that Pacioretty was headed to the Los Angeles Kings at the draft, he remains a member of the Habs organization.
At this point, it’s tough to say why Pacioretty has not yet been moved. It could be that Habs general manager Marc Bergevin is simply seeking too high of a return for the soon to be 30 year old winger, but it could also be Pacioretty’s contract situation that’s scaring off potential suitors. Pacioretty is in the final year of a six year deal that pays him just $4.5 million annually. Certainly any team looking to acquire him will want a new commitment before forking over significant assets.
The Kings, as mentioned previously, are believed to be in on Pacioretty trade talks with Bergevin, but NBC Sports’ Joey Alfieri highlights four other teams in the mix including the Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils and San Jose Sharks.
The Hawks are certainly an intriguing destination, if only because the addition of Pacioretty, along with a healthy season from goaltender Corey Crawford, could vault the Blackhawks back into the postseason following a rare misstep in 2017-18.
Here’s Alfieri’s take:
The ‘Hawks have reportedly been in the mix for Pacioretty this offseason, but Bergevin’s former team still hasn’t found a way to acquire the winger from the Canadiens. Chicago has over $5.4 million in cap space, so fitting him under the cap wouldn’t be an issue.
Outside of signing Chris Kunitz, Brandon Manning and Cam Ward, it’s been a quiet offseason for Chicago. Getting Pacioretty would be the biggest move of the summer for this team. After failing to make the playoffs last year, they could sure use a shot in the arm and an upgrade to their roster.
The biggest issue is figuring out what the Blackhawks could give up in a trade for Pacioretty and what the Canadiens are looking for in return for their captain. Yes, we know about Montreal’s need down the middle, but the ‘Hawks wouldn’t part ways with Jonathan Toews or Nick Schmaltz for a player on an expiring contract. On the flip side, the Habs probably wouldn’t be interested in acquiring another aging player like Artem Anismov.
Adam Boqvist, who the Blackhawks took eighth overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, is probably a no-go either. So coming up with a package might be difficult. Maybe a deal could center around picks, a prospect like Henri Jokiharju (Chicago’s first-rounder in 2017) and a roster player.
What do you think? Does a 2018 1st round pick, Jokiharju and a young roster player like John Hayden, Blake Hillman or Matthew Highmore seem like a good return for Pacioretty?