The trade rumors continue to fly surrounding Max Pacioretty the 29-year-old heading into the final year of his contract until he becomes an unrestricted free agent has been gaining a lot of interest from some teams. The 5-time 30 plus goal scorer has been the scoring piece in Montreal for the last 7 years now, while he has had his fair share of ups and downs in Montreal. Pacioretty still holds a ton of value. Going from 35 goals and 67 points in 82 games in 2016-17, Pacioretty had a rather disappointing season tallying 17 goals and 37 points in 64 games this season. Around the trade deadline Pacioretty was rumored to be on the move, but like we’ve seen before Montreal set the price a tad too high and were unable to move the left winger. Pacioretty has been said to get some interest from the St. Louis Blues and Buffalo Sabres, very small talk but it is something. The Blues have about 12 mil in cap space at the moment while the Sabres have around 19 mil in cap space. Whatever team does end up receiving Pacioretty will have to look into signing him to a good chunk of money. Coming off a 4.5 AAV contract, scoring 30 plus goals 5 times and 60 plus points 5 times Pacioretty is deserving of around 6 mil the least or 7.5 mil the maximum per year. While some teams have shown interest and the Canadiens are very open and willing to trade Pacioretty they have made it obvious if the deal is not right they are not going to do anything. General Manager Marc Bergevin did say he expects Pacioretty to be with the club for the 2018-19 season.
Per Stu Cowan a Montreal insider, Pacioretty has stated his desire to stay in Montreal and Bergevin has come out and said
“GM Marc Bergevin still has policy of not talking about contract negotiations but says at this point he expects captain Max Pacioretty to be back with the team next season”
Kevin Hayes on the move?
About 16 hours ago, rumors about Kevin Hayes being traded came out. The New York Rangers forward who recorded one of his best goal totals(25) in his four years has been said to be receiving significant interest over the last few hours. A few teams interested are the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. Hayes has been with the Rangers since 2014, being drafted in 2010 by the Blackhawks and coming over to the Rangers four years later. Hayes has quickly worked his way into the Rangers top six and has become one of the better forwards on this Rangers young roster now. Hayes has received his fair share of criticism during the Rangers playoff runs, two seasons ago Hayes was scratched for a few playoff games due to his poor performance and lack of production. Despite Hayes’s 10 points in 34 playoff games, he has consistently tallied around 40-45 points each season, his highest point total coming in 2016-17 where he notched 32 assists and 49 points. Last year Hayes picked it up tremendously towards the end of the year when the Rangers threw in the white flag and crumbled, Hayes scored 15 points in his last 20 games and was showing waves of confidence in his game. Now, with the Rangers still looking to move some pieces and rebuild a bit here the 26-year-old, four-year player has been said to have some teams interested in him.
What would the Rangers look for in Hayes? Probably an NHL ready prospect or player, being that Hayes is likely their number two center and certainly in their top six and also will be seeing powerplay minutes as well. An NHL-ready prospect and a second or third round pick is fair. Hayes was drafted in the first round 24th overall. Hayes is an RFA this season so whatever team does end up getting him if they do will have to sign him to at least a 2-3 year deal anywhere near 3 mil per year since he is coming off a 2.6 AAV contract. Despite the rumors, I would be a tad shocked to see Hayes walk after the season he just had and how much he loves playing in New York and how comfortable he is now due to the fact he will be a centerpiece for this Rangers team moving forward.
Ilya Kovalchuk Watch
Ilya Kovalchuk watch continues, the 35-year-old winger who has spent the last 5 years in the KHL is and wants to make his return to the NHL. Since showing interest in playing at the NHL level again, some teams have shown interest in him. When it first came out during the deadline, there was a lot of talk about how the Devils did not want to waive his rights. Eventually, they did and now teams have free range to the once Maurice Rocket Richard trophy winner. Kovalchuk has tallied 417 goals, and 816 points in 816 NHL games. At 35 he may not be able to do the things he used to do in his twenties but without a doubt, he will bring a solid contribution to any NHL team.
During his last five years in the KHL Kovalchuk scored 285 points in 262 games with 120 goals, now clearly the KHL is no NHL style hockey but Kovalchuk can definitely be of service to many NHL teams. And those teams looking at the hefty right winger, are the Blues, Bruins, Kings, Sharks, and Rangers. Kovalchuk visited with the Kings and Sharks one weekend, then was rumored to be talking with Boston to replace Rick Nash on the second line, the Blues just got into the mix and the Rangers have been there but have slowly fallen off with Kovalchuk. Right now there is no definite one team, there are many teams looking at Kovalchuk but one thing that is definite is that Kovalchuk wants around 5.5 to 6 mil per year and some teams definitely cannot afford that. For now, we continue to wait and watch!