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Photo Credit: © Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Could Max Pacioretty be the winger the Oilers need?

According to TVA insider Renaud Lavoie, Max Pacioretty’s camp expects him to be moved within the next few days. The Oilers, as we know, have had a difficult time finding a high-end winger to play alongside Connor McDavid. Could Pacioretty be that player for the Oilers?

It’s been a nightmare season in Montreal, not unlike the one we’ve witnessed in Edmonton this year. The Habs are 20-23-6 after starting the season 1-7. It was expected that they would be one of the contenders in the Eastern Conference, and making the playoffs was virtually a formality.

But nothing has gone right. Carey Price, freshly signed to a massive contract extension worth $80 million, has been thoroughly unspectacular. Jonathan Drouin, who the team gave up stud rookie defender Mikhail Sergachev to acquire, has scored only seven goals. The blueline, featuring Shea Weber and Karl Alzner that was supposed to be the league’s best at shutting opponents down, has been mediocre. As a result, general manager Marc Bergevin has been put on the hot seat.

Like with the Oilers, it’s difficult to put a finger on exactly what’s gone wrong. Maybe the team got off to a bad start and they got down on themselves. Maybe the roster is deeply flawed and they’re relying way too much on Price. Maybe it’s a bunch of things. Regardless, it seems captain max Pacioretty is one of the scapegoats.

Pacioretty, despite having a pretty underwhelming season, leads the team in scoring with 31 points in 49 games. He’s scored at least 30 goals in six of the past seven seasons. The one blip on the radar came during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 year, but he was on pace to score 27 goals in an 82-game pace. This year, Pacioretty has buried 16 goals, which puts him on pace for 26 over an 82-game season.

I have a difficult time believing that Pacioretty is part of the problem in Montreal, but this is also the organization that dealt P.K. Subban in a one-for-one deal for Shea Weber because they felt he was an issue. I don’t think Weber is a player devoid of value by any stretch, but he’s older and carries an albatross contract, whereas Subban is currently leading the Nashville Predators in points. There’s no doubt who won that deal.

Pacioretty’s slump, if we can even really call it that, seems to be driven by a poor shooting percentage. He’s scoring on just 8.7 per cent of his shots in all situations, which is a career low. Last season, the Oilers sold low on Jordan Eberle after a career-low shooting percentage season and he’s quickly rebounded with the New York Islanders. Pacioretty, like Eberle last year, boasts very strong underlying numbers and would be a great bet for a rebound back to his career norm of 30+ goals. A difference between Pacioretty and Eberle, though, is the former is much, much stronger in the defensive aspect of the game.

The Oilers have been on the wrong side of some selling-low deals in the past. It would be great for them to capitalize on a team who seems to think a good player is a part of the problem that can become part of their solution.

Beyond that, he’s signed to an excellent contract. Pacioretty, who turned 29 years old in November, is inked for one more year at a measly $4.5 million cap hit. Starting next season, the Oilers will have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl making a combined $21 million.

They have about $62 million committed to McDavid, Draisaitl, Milan Lucic, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Zack Kassian, Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto, Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Kris Russell, Cam Talbot, Al Montoya, and Benoit Pouliot’s buyout. That’s seven forwards, four defenders, and two goalies. Darnell Nurse, Matt Benning, Ryan Strome, Anton Slepyshev, Drake Caggiula, and Brandon Davidson are restricted free agents. It’s extremely difficult to get a winger as good as Pacioretty for as cheap as $4.5 million. I mean, the battle-worn Chris Kunitz cost the Tampa Bay Lightning $3 million in free agency last summer.

It was discussed back in the summer that the Oilers and Habs could be a nice match and that Nugent-Hopkins for Pacioretty could benefit both sides. Maybe now, given their horrible season and the fact Bergevin is on the hot seat, Pacioretty could be had for less than Nugent-Hopkins. The Habs badly need a centre, but they could also use some help on the blueline in regards to a puck-moving defenceman.

What say you, Nation? Is Pacioretty a realistic target? What would you be comfortable trading for him? Or is all this just in my imagination? 


January Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and we’re starting conversations to help people see dementia differently.

We’ve spoken to people living with dementia from across the country who’ve shared openly about their challenges and triumphs.

Like Mary Beth, who was diagnosed when she was 45 and became a fierce advocate for the rights of people with dementia. There’s also Mario, who got his diagnosis a year after he retired and, while it changed what he expected of his future, he has embraced it anyway, volunteering in his community, and taking up photography to express himself creatively. And then there’s Naomi, whose mum was diagnosed at 54, and who is a dedicated daughter, caregiver, and advocate for change in the way dementia is viewed in Canada.  You can read about each of their journeys via the web-link below.

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    • DK0

      Strome was worth Eberle, so I’d say Strome is worth Pacioretty.
      That’s how GMing works right? If you just keep pretending that the 2 are equal then everyone else believes you too?

    • Dr

      I am totally against dealing Benson. I would rather trade the upcoming first round pick. If Benson had stayed healthy, I am sure he would’ve been a top 15 selection. He is still regaining strength after two hernia surgeries. For the longest time, his PPG were equivalent to RNH’s numbers in his draft year. His been in a slump recently, so his PPG has dipped. Check out his youtube highlights for a glimpse of his hockey IQ and passing skills. There’s no way I trade him.

      • J.R.

        Are you kidding? Have you watched the Oilers this year?

        You’d be giving away a lottery pick to keep Benson.

        Then Montreal wins it and we have to eat a great big pile of this debacle that turns into Barzal 2.0.

    • OilersFan999

      A prospect and a high pick would be great but if this kind of deal would work maybe a trade with another one of our prospects that is not from Edmonton as he has said it is his dream to play for his hometown And if he does become a solid nhler that he might take a hometown discount

  • puckle-head

    Hmm.. this is a tough one. If his current contract were longer, I’d say trade for the guy obviously, but he’s a free agent after next year. If we send some valuable assets (of which we have few left) to Montreal for Paccioretty, we are going to end up at the end of next season with a 30 year old FA looking to get a big paycheck we likely won’t afford. On the other hand, if we can morph into a cup contender by next year, then it’d be worth it to have an elite winger playing with McDavid for 2018/19. Of course, that’s a big if, and given the fact that Chia has done a great job making sure we don’t have much trade value left, I find myself thinking this is an opportunity the Oilers have to pass on. Maybe if Pacioretty’s contract was longer, or the Oilers were better, or the Oilers had more assets to spend on trades with short term upsides, but that’s not reality.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    Listen, I don’t want to sounds like a Limp Noodle or Mr. Over-Sensitive but … “corpse of Chris Kunitz?” That’s a bit of metaphorical over-reach, no? Couldn’t just say “the ghost of Chris Kunitz or, better yet, the contract of Chris Kunitz?”

    Understand – I’m not so offended or insulted by it that I’m going to stop reading these articles (this one was otherwise excellent) or this website. And, as a former sportswriter, I don’t generally like criticizing a writer’s craft. Never pee in the pool, as we used to say.

    But given that there’s a text-advertisement (or “advertorial,” as we called them in the newspaper days) for for Alzheimer’s Month a few scant paragraphs below, I’m wondering if a little more discretion isn’t worth considering. Again – this isn’t going to affect my readership or consumption, but I thought I’d mention it.

  • Hemmercules

    Booourns if its Nuge unless they are giving us Patches + something. Chia’s track record says it would be a one for one deal though. Maybe he actually uses the cap space this time.

  • vetinari

    My brother-in-law is a diehard Habs fan and his take sounds a bit like what we were saying about Eberele a year ago… streaky player who doesn’t play a heavy game and disappear for games at a stretch but somehow keeps showing up on the scoreboard. I would take a flyer on him if the price is right but I wouldn’t break the bank on a guy signed for only one more year and is having problems. Both teams are at about the same money, cap wise, but the deal would likely have to be bigger than a one-for-one.

    • puckle-head

      You know, if you go back to 2010, only 3 players have scored more goals than Max Pacioretty: Ovechkin, Stamkos, and Tavares. And Pacioretty accomplished that in Montreal, with almost no talent to work with. To be clear, I actually agree with your assessment that he’s probably hard to justify acquiring, due to his expiring contract, but I do think he deserves a little more credit than you’re giving him, he keeps some pretty elite company. Hell, he’s on pace for 27 goals in his off season.

      • Derzie

        If you go further back to the 80s, no one has scored more than Gretzky, but you wouldn’t want him playing today. GMs get caught up in the past predicting the future too much. Players go from hero to zero in the blink of an eye in today’s game. Max is better than he is showing but not the same player as before.

  • Oil9744

    I think defense is still the biggest problem with the oilers, OEL, Mcdonaugh, Letang are some big names that could be available, I’d rather use the assets for them then Patches.

  • bleedingcoppernblue

    I wouldn’t trade Nuge for Pacioretty period mostly due to contract status and age. I would do Strome plus in a heartbeat. Add in a defensive prospect or even a second round pick (just not a first). Don’t know Montreal would bite though.

    • toprightcorner

      The Habs want to improve their team witj a significant player if they trade Patch, no chance Strome is their key request. This is a multi player trade

      • Glencontrolurstik

        Montreal needs size… Get Lucic to waive his no-move deal…
        One for one would be perfect… Looch would be great in Montreal, we could throw Benning in as a sweetener.

      • Dirtbag Daddy

        Why not. MTL is looking to unload an under achieving asset. For all the MTL fans…they must give up something to get soimething and in this case when you are selling the price may not be what you hope it wouold be. By giving up Big Rig at this point would allow MTL a longer term to negotiate a new contract. With Patch Streak the Oilers are taking the risk, not MTL.

  • Kaplan

    I have no issue with a Patches for RNH trade, though I’d prefer (or dream of) Strome for Max. I don’t get the RNH love-in. I mean, he’s a good player, but he’s hardly what I would classify as untouchable.

    • Dr

      RNH kills penalties, plays on the second unit PP, takes the tough minutes against other teams top centres, is trusted by the coach to be out on the ice in any situation. Why would a team trade a versatile centre when most other teams are looking for one? They’re in short supply. They would then have to develop another RNH. As soon as the Oilers trade RNH, then have no centre to play in all situations, we will be saying Chia blew it again.

      • jultz=2cups!??

        And look where the oilers are in the standings with Nuge playing in all these situations. I like Nuge too but if he ever scores 27 goals in a “down year” like patches, I’ll eat my oilers socks. I’d do the trade in a heartbeat

  • grumpyKoala

    Thought ?

    Maroon (W) + Letestu (4thC)
    vs
    Patch (W) + DelaRose (4thC)

    *Dont expect anything from DeLaRose aside a temp plug at 4thC
    *Oils might throw a very late pick (4-5)

    • Display Name Exists

      Why would Montreal ever do this deal? I mean I’d love it if they did, and I know many consider bergevin to be an idiot, but come on!

      Max has scored 30 or more goals in his last 5 seasons (6 if you prorate the lockout season) with a Montreal forward corps that had no elite talent whatsoever. He’s also on a great contract at $4.5M that has one more year left following this season. So any team that pays for him has, at the very least, one extra year of him. And if he doesn’t perform, $4.5M isn’t a massive pill to swallow. This, along with his scoring history are very valuable to buyers at the deadline.

      Maroon on the other hand, had one 27 goal season. Its fair to argue most of those goals were largely thanks to playing alongside McDavid, a generational talent, and Draisaitl, an elite passer. He’s also a UFA this summer, as is Letestu. Letestu’s a great depth player, but Montreal is looking for a player to replace Patch’s offence, and that player certainly isn’t Letestu, nor is it Maroon. I like them both as people, but this isn’t even remotely near what Montreal would want.

    • jultz=2cups!??

      The ol’ classic oilersnation trade! Give the other team the 2 guys that oilersnation has been whining about all year for the other teams best player. Lolol. Oilersnation loves this trade but I doubt that trade gets made in nhl18. ????

  • The Whispererer

    If Chiarelli was nervous about the prospect of an offer sheet for Draisaitl last year he should be terrified about the chance of an offer sheet for Nurse this year. Even without an offer sheet he will have to pay dearly for Nurse’s next contract. There is no way he will be able to retain Maroon + Nuge + Nurse + Klefbom. Maroon will have to go for a pick/prospect at the trade deadline, which will leave a hole at LW. Pacioretty could fill that hole but is only under contract for 1 more year.
    RNH is a 24 year old Center who is signed for 3 more years. Pacioretty is a 29 year old LW signed for 1 more year. Montreal needs a lot of help at center. Chiarelli holds nearly all the poker chips at this table so RNH for Pacioretty + would be a normal expectation. If we are trading the younger player we must get the opportunity to add to our prospect pool. At a minimum, Montreal’s 2018 2nd should be added to the mix and i’m not sure that would be enough for RNH. Maybe we should target their 2018 1st in a trade; that would involve us adding something to RNH. I’m not sure what that would take…maybe Slepyshev ? ( i only mention Slepyshev because it is apparent he isn’t in the Oilers’ future plans despite his good potential ).

    RNH + Slepyshev + remove the condition on the Montoya trade (so that they are sure to get our 4th) for Pacioretty + 2018 1st ?

      • Kepler62c

        Good thing you aren’t in control of the team.

        A One-for-One deal of Nuge for Pacioretty is ludicrous and squanders the Oilers assets just like the Eberle-Strome deal. Strome is what he is, if they’d gotten him for something of equal value then he’s a player I’d like to see on the team – but Chia didn’t get fair value for his asset (Eberle) so the team got worse.

  • Mark Lesser

    I saw Montreal message boards thinking that the Canadiens should move Weber for Nurse and the Oilers 1st this year. So I assume for Pacioretty they want McDavid.

    • oilers1168

      I think they should give us Carry Price and they can keep paying for his entire contract. They sign him to one of the worst contrasts imagable. That would only be fair for stupidity

      • jultz=2cups!??

        Are you actually trying to say that price didn’t deserve the contract he got??? Wow!! Oilersnation is more delusional than I thought. He’s the best goalie in the world and if you guys don’t think so, then I have been right about you guys all along lol. Definitely explains your guys love for klefbom. You guys clearly don’t understand hockey. Hahaha

  • Old school

    Fun discussion but the trade we should be talking about would be for Karlsson.. that guy would totally transform this team .. l would trade Nuge and Klefbloom for him today if we could sign for 5years

    • The Whispererer

      Fun discussion sure; but food for thought…Brent Burns will be 33 years old when he finishes year 1 of his 8 year $64 million contract. Karlsson will be 29 when he begins year 1 of his next contract, the salary cap will have increased 3 times since Burns signed his deal, and Karlsson has been very clear he will sell his services to the highest bidder. My prediction: Karlsson will get the 1st $100 million defense contract.

  • toprightcorner

    This is a multi player deal. Patch is a superior player for the Oilers, 1st line winger for their 3rd line center. The contract length prevents it from working.

    multi player trade is the only way it works

    Nuge, Lucic and Strome for Patch and Galchenyuk. Money savings can help resign Patch for $7.5 mill if he clicks with McDavid

  • oilers1168

    He is 29 and his numbers are sliding. Next year he is 30. He is starting his downside of his career. We do not need older, used and beat up players. He is not our problem so lets keep it that way.

    • jultz=2cups!??

      You do realize that chiarelli is trying to win a cup right?? Do you actually think the oilers are building for the future?? I guarantee that the cup is the goal next year. Just like it was this year. Damn special teams!! You guys are freakin hilarious!!! ??????

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    Honestly who knows anymore. If its not one thing, its another. Plus none of you seem to trust Peter to mow your front lawn let alone do his best to fix his mistake.

    And yes, I’m willing to cut Peter slack? Why? Because he at least did something as opposed to the previous morons who flaunted their stanley cup rings around and called it a resume.

    • jultz=2cups!??

      Coming from the guy that called eberle the worst hockey player in the league. Lol. You are the one that clearly doesn’t understand hockey. Hey, where’s your buddy Batman these days. You guys made a great pair. Like abbot and costello. ??