THE AGEING VETERAN PERSPECTIVE
The drama between the Habs and Max Pacioretty has been ongoing all summer. For a moment it looked like he would be traded to LA during the draft, but that was quickly shutdown as Pacioretty declined signing an extension with The Kings. His agent was quickly fired afterwards. Pacioretty has stated again and again that he does not want to leave Montreal, and even though it has been rocky for the last few months, he would still negotiate with them to stay in Montreal for the long term. The Hab’s position is that there will be no contract, and they will not negotiate anything further until after the season has begun. Camp Pacioretty has come out saying that they will not negotiate with the Habs - or any other team - once the season starts so it looks like there is a stalemate between the two sides.
I think what worries Habs fans more than anything is losing Pacioretty for a minimal return. It seems highly unlikely that Bergevin will be able to swing things in his favour and “win” the trade - whenever it finally happens. After the questionable Galchenyuk trade earlier in the summer, Bergevin really needs to bring something big back to the Habs. Max Domi is a good player, but he isn’t exactly a goal-scorer. Say what you will about Galchenyuk, but he had a great shot and could put the puck in the net. Once Pacioretty is gone, the goal scoring pretty much leaves with him.
The most perplexing thing about this whole situation for me is the fact that Bergevin won’t commit to calling it a rebuild. If he really is re-tooling, why is Pacioretty not part of his plan? If Bergevin’s stance is that Pacioretty is too old, then why did he extend Carey Price’s contract for 8 years? Price is older. Of course, goalies’ careers last longer than most players, and they still play very effectively throughout the longer time period as well. But Max isn’t exactly old; he’s 29. Even a 7-year deal would bring him to 36 – also not decrepit. He likely wouldn’t be scoring 30 plus goals at 36 but it’s a safe bet he likely will be for the next 4-5 seasons. Look at his goal scoring since 2011-12. He has hit the back of the net 206 times. More by far than any other Hab. Why is Bergevin so eager to get rid of that scoring? And where does he expect the replacement goals to come from?
Hopefully the Habs and Pacioretty can make amends and come to a deal to see him stay in the city he loves. It’s looking more and more likely that he will be suiting up for a new team sooner rather than later.