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Report: Pens keeping an eye on Pacioretty

They may trade for the star winger, per multiple sources.

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Jim Rutherford is amping up for a major trade as the trade deadline approaches ever closer. While the common consensus is that any such deal will likely be centered around dealing Ian Cole for a third line center, the possibility exists for Rutherford to make a different kind of move.

Such a move could be the acquisition of Max Pacioretty. The likes of Elliotte Friedman and Nick Kypreos have brought up the possibility, as far as the Pittsburgh Penguins are concerned.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Jason Mackey echoed these comments, by mentioning in a recent article that Rutherford is indeed keeping an eye on the prolific scorer, although the price may be too high for now.

That being said, Mackey makes a very important point when discussing the issues surrounding Sidney Crosby's play as of late.

"Sid could use some help," Mackey begins. "I think if they had three scoring lines, teams would be forced to match up differently against the Penguins.

"Care is the last thing I find issue with regarding Crosby," Mackey continues to say. "I would go with another "C" word, though. Consistency. Too much shuffling on his line. Crosby more than any other professional athlete I've dealt with craves routine. He's had none of that thus far. Pick two linemates, and let him stick with those guys for awhile."

The issue lies in the fact that Crosby has dealt with a rotating cast of wingers and has lacked the consistency he so sorely desires. Furthermore, the team's scoring depth is weak at the moment, putting more pressure on his shoulders, as well as Evgeni Malkin's. 

Adding Pacioretty could reawaken the current Montreal Canadiens' captain out of his scoring slump, and provide a massive weapon on Crosby's wing. Pacioretty is a pure sniper and with a bonafide superstar centreman in Crosby, the 1-2 punch might be one of the best in the league.

Pacioretty ranks among the top 5 goal scorers over the last 5 years. He has 217 goals and 214 assists in 596 career games. He ranks 3rd in scoring out of the 2007 NHL draft, only behind Patrick Kane and Jamie Benn.

The price would be high - what do you think it would take to pry Pacioretty out of Montreal?