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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Montreal Canadiens Top Priorities Part 3: Max Pacioretty

Mad Max brings size and skill to Habs

Once Habs GM Marc Bergevin deals inks goalie Carey Price and defenseman P.K.Subban, he should waste no time before focusing on the Canadiens front lines.

When looking at Montreal's roster of forwards, there is little or no debate that Max Pacioretty is the closest thing the team has to an untouchable. Pacioretty promised the media and the team's fan base that he would return from his career, as well as, life threatening injury, stronger and better than ever.

It was one thing to hear those words from a player who most people believed was done, but seeing it happen was another.

In his retuning season, Pacioretty adopted a style similar to Erik Cole. Cole, who was signed in the off season after Patches' injury, must have given the young power forward some advice on how to use his body on the ice.

And the results were remarkable.

Pacioretty posted career highs in goals with 33, assists with 32 and points with 65. What's just as impressive—if not more—than those numbers, was his unwillingness to let what had happened to him limit his abilities.

It would be hard to blame him if he showed hesitation when it came to playing with some edge. But Pacioretty refused to let that slow him down, clearly showing that he is well on his way to being a top power-forward in the game's best league.

No Time Like The Present

While Pacioretty is not an RFA until the end of the season, I see no reason why Bergevin should wait to extend his contract. With a new CBA coming up—hopefully—there is no guarantee that Bergevin will get the chance to sign Pacioretty long term.

What do I mean by that? Well, it remains to be seen whether long term deals will remain a part of the game (with the new agreement), and so this may be the team's last chance to commit to Mighty Max.

Waiting until his current contract expires wouldn't be the end of the world as five year contracts will more than likey exist past the new CBA. But signing Pacioretty sooner rather than later would show fans as well as the players, that management is set on identifying the tools needed to win and locking them down.

The Terms

It's always tricky coming down to finding the right amount of money to commit to a promising player so early in his career. With only one full season under his belt—minus a three-game suspension served for a hit on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang—it would be foolish to throw too much money at him.

It's because of this that Bergevin may wait before signing him—so he has more of an idea of Pacioretty's worth. This could also work to the player's advantage as another strong season will no doubt result in a higher payday.

If you were in Bergevin's position do you extend Pacioretty's contract right away or wait another year with the chance of his value rising? If you go the route of extension, what's your offer?

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Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to HabsAddict.com. He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at MontrealHockeyTalk.com

You can follow Sean on Twitter

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

6 comments:

I think you need to see more than 1 season before you offer a long term deal. If he his still producing at the same pace or better by the all star break next year.
If he is then you can look at an extension of 5 years at around 4-5M per season. No need to rush anything as he is still an RFA.
I don't think you need to manage the Habs by trying to make a splash, that can get you into trouble.
Be patient when there is no urgency.
Price is the only one who needs a long term deal at this stage. Bide your time and let some large contracts come off the books as you start to tie up your young studs to long term deals.
You will need some of our young prospects to be NHL ready in order to have some cheap talent and stay under the cap.

Great piece, Sean! I'm with Hockeyhype...

Patches had a fantastic season last year...one that I fully expect him to outdo this coming season. That being said, it is one season and he is still young.

For me, I'd got for a 2 - 3 year deal at $2 - $3.25 mil (max) per...something similar to the deal Price signed once his first contract was up.

After that, see how he does and lock him up to a long term extension during his third and final year of his contract.

To HH's point, there are some pretty significant contracts coming off the books over the next few seasons. That and there are some pretty significant prospects who should start joining the team over those same seasons.

You put it all together and it tells you that Patches should be getting big money (in three years say), at the same time vets are coming off the books and the young guns are just starting to join the team.

Sounds like a pretty good strategy to me!

Kamal,

He is signed through this season at a 1.625 cap hit.
If he scores 30+ again this season, I think it will cost us over 4M, possibly 5M to get him signed to a 4-5 year deal. If he was an RFA this season then I think your scenario would play out.
We also have to sign Eller this year and he will likely get around 1.5-2M per over 2 years.

@HH: Indeed he is and good point.

Still, I think the logic holds for Patches on his next contract.

I think a 2 year deal similar to Price's would be easier to ink him to if it was an extension. If he puts out another season like last or better then HH is right, 4-5 million is more likely what he'll get.

I hope your right Kamal but I doubt he would agree to that contract at this stage. He has little to lose by waiting until the end of next season to start negotiating as he is already under contract.

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