Rumors, we all love to read about them. There is truly very little that is more exciting in the world of sports then speculating trades, free agent destinations, and possible coach firings. In this segment, we will look at the hottest NHL rumors made by the most reputable people in the business. This week’s rumors include names such as Max Pacioretty and Evander Kane.
NHL Rumors: Max Pacioretty and the Pittsburgh Penguins
Max Pacioretty Available?
It is safe to say that the 2017-18 season has not gone as planned for the Montreal Canadiens. The team currently sits close to the bottom of the Eastern Conference with no sign of making a drastic turn-around.
Whenever a team underperforms, you can count on trade speculation to arise. The big name being discussed out of Montreal recently is the veteran winger, Max Pacioretty. The 29-year-old forward has had a rough go of it this season and the Canadiens could be looking to part ways with him.
Nick Kypreos fired up the Pacioretty trade speculation on Saturday Headlines on Hockey Night in Canada, claiming “We know that Marc Bergevin, general manager of Montreal, is actively shopping Max Pacioretty.” Kypreos believes that the Habs are in search of another goal-scorer younger than Pacioretty in a deal. However, receiving picks and prospects is not out of the question. In addition, it appears as though Montreal is in no rush to make a deal and could wait until the draft if the right offer is not presented.
Although Kypreos’s comments are highlighted here, he is far from the only insider discussing the Pacioretty situation. In fact, Elliotte Friedman, Darren Dreger, and Pierre LeBrun all made comments in regards to Pacioretty this week.
We need to remember that this is the Montreal Canadiens we are dealing with here. They one of the most respected franchise’s in the NHL and the pressure to win is always high. With things taking a turn for the worst, it is not shocking that trade speculation has ramped up. At the same time, it is not a surprise that Pacioretty is the player being discussed.
Although he’s having a down year, it is hard to avoid the talent he has. The team captain has had four-straight seasons with 30-plus goals and could provide an offensive improvement somewhere. In addition, his contract is on the books until the summer of 2019 with a friendly annual cap hit of $4.5 million.
The Canadiens could get a pretty decent return for Pacioretty and will most likely hold out until they get exactly what they want. With the winger on contract for one more season, there is really no rush to get a deal done immediately. If a trade does happen, it would not be shocking if it does not occur until closer to the draft.
Pittsburgh Penguins Poised to Make a Move
As was mentioned last week, the feeling around the league is that the Penguins are actively looking to make changes to their roster. Friedman added a little more fuel to this speculation in a radio segment on Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650, referring to Pittsburgh’s temperature as “hot”. In addition, he stated, “they’re trying to get some offense in there, there’s no question about that.” Two names Friedman mentioned as possible candidates to go to Pittsburgh were Pacioretty and Evander Kane.
Similar to the Canadiens, the Penguins are consistently faced without a lot of pressure to succeed. They are in a position to win their third-straight Stanley Cup and are blessed with one of the best players to ever lace his skate, Sidney Crosby. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh currently finds itself on the outside of the playoff picture.
So will the Penguins look to make a move? Of course, they will. Both Pacioretty and Kane would be great options. However, Kane would have to be viewed as a rental at this point. Another name that Pittsburgh might consider is Mike Hoffman from the Ottawa Senators. The Penguins will most likely show interest in all three, and possibly others, and look to make a deal sooner than later.