Rabid Habs

The Forum: Trading Max Pacioretty

Your Montreal Canadiens captain is on one of his patented hot streaks at the moment, having now scored 7 times in as many games, nearly doubling his total production on the season in that stretch, bringing his season total to 15 goals. With trade speculation flying around the Habs’ captain, today we ask our contributors: should the Canadiens trade Max Pacioretty at this year’s trade deadline?

Kyle Roussel (@kyleroussel) – Yes, they should still trade him. I know it’s hard to replace perennial 30-goal scorers, but a healthy return for Pacioretty can kickstart a rebuild that *badly* needs to happen. With another year left at a very reasonable salary, he should be the piece that nets the Habs the first line centre, or top pair PMD that they sorely need. It’s going to be difficult to replace his production and bang for buck that he brings, but I think it’s something that needs to happen by the end of the trade deadline.

 

Sean O’Neill (@TheONeillFactor) – Much of Pacioretty’s value (beyond the guaranteed 25-35 goals a season) stems from his contract – with a cap-hit of only $4.5 million per season, the captain is on one of the most team-friendly deals in the NHL. Paradoxically, though, this also means that this might be the best time to trade him: with Pacioretty scheduled to hit free agency next summer, he’s in that sweet spot where he will fetch more than a rental but could still be a very enticing piece for any team looking to get over the hump.

This seems like the end of the road for Pacioretty in Montreal – the team desperately needs to rebuild and #67 is one of the few aces left up Marc Bergevin’s sleeve. Bergevin being Bergevin there’s always the worry that he’ll be dealt for 75-cents-on-the-dollar, but for a team with a glut of wingers, cap space galore, and dim prospects in the immediate future, dealing Pacioretty for a 1C or a puck-moving defenceman (remember those?) makes a lot of sense.

 

Zach Vanasse (@ZachDropsTweets) – I’ve been advocating for the Max Pacioretty trade since Nick Kypreos first reported that Marc Bergevin was actively shopping him prior to the holidays and I’m not about to change my mind just because Max is starting to look like his old self again these past couple weeks. Pacioretty’s trade value will never again be as high for the Habs. Because he currently has one full season left on his incredibly affordable contract, it will be easy for almost any team to fit him under the salary cap and he represents more than simply a rental, meaning the return should be significant. It needs to be.

Simply put, trading Max Pacioretty is the best card the team has to play in order to put themselves on the right track for the future. With that in mind, not only do I think the Canadiens should trade Max Pacioretty prior to the trade deadline, I believe they must trade him if they want to turn this ship around anytime in the foreseeable future.

 

Claudio D’Andrea (@cdbytor) – Sure. Why not? But I maintain that Bergevin should not be the one making that call, or any other decisions about the team. We’ve seen the mess he’s made.

It’s time for a new GM.

 

Rob Hing (@robhing) – This is one of the most open and shut cases of all the questions facing the Habs. There is virtually no argument for keeping Max Pacioretty at this point; the only caveat being if he, for some unforeseen reason, did not want a long term contract nor a big pay raise. Given that those things are beyond unlikely, the Habs simply must trade him. It’s not that anyone should be excited to see him go. He’s perennially one of the top goal scorers in the league and that is unlikely to be replaced. Those who complain about his time in Montreal suffer from severe tunnel vision. That said, given his contract situation, the organization’s cap situation, and the state of the team, it would make no sense to commit long term to a veteran who plays the only position that you are both young and deep at. So sadly, it will be time to move on from a guy who has given his heart and soul to the club over his tenure. Such is the nature of professional sports; cruel beast that it is.

 

Ian Boisvert (@Boisvertian) – It would be difficult to pull for a rebuild/reset without cashing in on one of your most coveted assets. With term left on Pacioretty’s deal, Montreal should get something similar to what the Avalanche were able to land for Matt Duchene (probably even more). The Habs’ prospect stash is nearly empty and the future is dismal too. If you’re going to trade Pacioretty, the trade deadline would be the best time to do it, as the acquiring team would have the sniper for a playoff run and a full season before his contract expires.

There is, however, another angle.

For a team that is starved to score goals, trading the one true goalscorer they’ve had in decades seems like an unfathomable step backwards. Not to mention the fact that if you trade a 35-goal scorer, you need to be sure you have something in your sights to replace him. My biggest fear is that Montreal fixes their blueline and fixes their centre depth at the cost of their best goal scorer without adequately replacing him. It would be the most depressing game of whack-a-mole ever. They suddenly have depth everywhere but no pure goal scorer; no guaranteed 30-goal guy. That would be brutal.

You have to make sure the right people are in charge of making this decision, and I’m not sure that’s the case.