The Canadiens may have to wait a little longer than they're comfortable with to re-sign captain Max Pacioretty, if re-signing him is indeed their intention. Pacioretty, who is entering the final year of a six-year contract worth $27 million and whose name has been attached to trade rumors since the offseason began, reportedly won't be negotiating with the Canadiens or any other team once the season begins, according to SportsNet.
Pacioretty's agent, Allan Walsh, vehemently denied reports that Pacioretty requested trades in the 2013 and 2017 seasons. With that being said, Pacioretty said on Aug. 28 that he hasn't had negotiations with the Canadiens to this point, via SportsNet.
, and he accused the team of planting stories.
For the first time since signing his new contract, Pacioretty fell short of 30 goals last season, ending with only 17. Pacioretty will be 30 in November, so the Canadiens may have a decision to make regarding how much they want to pay the winger.
Among left-wingers, Pacioretty is 33rd in average annual value at $4.5 million, so putting negotiations on hold makes sense for him. It will be on him to prove that 2017 was an aberration, and that he is still a 30-goal 30-assist player. Once the time comes to re-open negotiations at the end of the season, he could find himself with a much stronger footing negotiations-wise.
Last season, the Canadiens were sixth in the Atlantic division with just 71 points. If they're going to succeed this year, Pacioretty will have to be a key contributor alongside Jonathan Drouin. In the meantime, Pacioretty will likely be talked about as a trade candidate until he and the Habs put pen to paper.