The Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers may be working on what would be one of the biggest trades of the National Hockey League season. Not only would it be a huge trade, but it's also one that could realistically benefit both sides.
TSN's Ray Ferraro has speculated on the possibility of the Canadiens trading their captain Max Pacioretty to the Oilers in exchange for winger Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and it's easy to see how it could prove a valuable deal for each team.
First there are rumors of friction between Pacioretty and head coach Claude Julien, so simply moving Pacioretty could prove to be a big benefit for the Canadiens. Adding a center, the position at which they most desperately need an upgrade, in the process would fill a huge hole in the Canadiens line up.
For the Oilers they would get some cap space, at least in the short term, as Pacioretty earns $1.5 million less per season both this year and next year than Nugent-Hopkins done on his current contract. The problem here for Edmonton could be Pacioretty regaining his 30+ goal per season form alongside a player like McDavid and seeking a large pay raise at the end of his current deal.
That being said there's no question Pacioretty has establish himself as the better player in the National Hockey League, however Pacioretty is in a major slump while Nugent-Hopkins is having arguably his best season in the NHL. How much weight each team puts into the current form of both players could impact how they view the possibility of this trade.
There's one more important factor here as well, Nugent-Hopkins is only 25-years-old and in theory has plenty of time left in his NHL career while Pacioretty is 29 and will soon be exiting the prime of his career. If the Oilers think his current slump in form is indicative of his future performance they may shy away from this deal.
Would you pull the trigger if you were the Habs? Would you do it if you're the Oilers general manager?