Per a published report by The Athletic, Montreal Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin informed Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty they would not re-sign the player and attempt to move him “as soon as possible”. The move by the Canadiens essentially guarantees a trade (Please read the full and original story here). An industry source familiar with the situation also told Pittsburgh Hockey Now Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin would like a speedy resolution, but no trade partners were mentioned.
Bergevin has officially painted himself into a bleu, blanc, et rouge corner.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now has not independently confirmed any substantial talks between Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford and Bergevin. The NHL rumor mill has repeatedly linked Pacioretty to the Penguins. However, Pittsburgh Hockey Now has reported sources inside the Penguins organization said initial discussions between the clubs did not gain any traction.
Pacioretty, 29, is entering the final season of his six-year, $27 million contract with a $4.5 million salary cap hit. Pacioretty had four straight 30-goal seasons before dipping to 17 goals in 64 games last season.
Last summer, the Canadiens hurriedly signed their All-Star goaltender Carey Price to an 8-year, $84 million contract on July 2. However, team-wide struggles last season, combined with defenseman Shea Weber’s knee surgery which will keep him off the ice until December and Pacioretty’s expiring contract has changed the landscape in Montreal.
The Penguins could indeed use a left wing, which is why the pair have consistently been linked but the Penguins have precious little salary cap space. Any deal for an NHL player would require the Penguins to part with a nearly commensurate salary.
Pacioretty told the Montreal Gazette after the season, “But I’ve fallen in love with this city. Me and my family, my kids. My wife. Whether I’m playing here or not I’m always most likely going to call Montreal home, and I look forward to spending the rest of my life really with the fans that do love me in the city…”
Pittsburgh Hockey Now will continue working to update the story as new details emerge. It now appears Pacioretty will be dealt before Erik Karlsson, and Canadian fans are not thrilled with the situation.