NHL Rumor Mill – August 29, 2018
Updates on Max Pacioretty and Tyler Seguin in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty confirmed there’s been no contract talks with general manager Marc Bergevin during his charity golf tournament on Tuesday. If negotiations don’t begin soon, it’s expected the Canadiens will trade Pacioretty before next February’s trade deadline rather than lose him to free agency next July. He’s expected to report to training camp on Sept. 14.
SPORTSNET: Eric Engels believes Pacioretty’s days with the Canadiens are numbered. Even if a trade doesn’t materialize the chances of re-signing with the club appear dead. A trade that would’ve shipped him to the Los Angeles Kings during the 2018 NHL Draft fell through as he declined to sign a six-year, $36-million contract extension. During that period, Pacioretty replaced Pat Brisson as his agent with Allan Walsh. He doesn’t appear to be holding his breath waiting for a contract offer. The longer he goes without getting one, the more his inevitable departure will dominate.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey reports Bergevin and Canadiens owner Geoff Molson declined to discuss Pacioretty’s contract status with the media yesterday. He speculates contract term and dollars could be among the factors holding up negotiations, suggesting the Pacioretty camp could seek a seven- or eight-year deal. The market dictates he could receive between $7-$8 million annually, though Hickey thinks Pacioretty could seek a sweetener after being underpaid on his current contract. He believes a failure to negotiate on the Canadiens part could come back to haunt them if they can’t trade him and his value rises in the free-agent market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Bergevin and Molson would love to move Pacioretty before the start of the season but they’re not dealing from a position of strength right now. Perhaps that will change as the season progresses and playoff contenders seeking scoring punch look to bolster their rosters.
Pacioretty’s apparent unwillingness to ink a contract extension with teams interested in acquiring him doesn’t help the Canadiens’ efforts to trade him. Then again, they could attempt to pull off a sign-and-trade, though teams could be leery about doing that until they’ve had a chance to evaluate his play this season. If Pacioretty regains his 30-goal form this season it will improve his value in the trade market and could improve the chances of a sign-and-trade scenario.
Rumors last season linked Pacioretty to the Kings, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues and Florida Panthers. I think the Kings signing of Ilya Kovalchuk and the Blues’ recent acquisitions of Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak, David Perron and Patrick Maroon takes those clubs out of the running. Sharks GM Doug Wilson is always on the lookout for a big addition and Pacioretty could be in his sights, though the re-signing of Evander Kane could change that. The Pacioretty-to-Florida rumors were based in part on his owning a home in Boca Raton but he recently put it up for sale.
TSN: Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin said contract extension talks remain at a standstill, expressing his disappointment not to have a deal in place with training camp approaching. He adds he’s focused on the upcoming season and looks forward to having a good year. There’s speculation the annual average value of his new deal could match that of John Tavares’ $11 million with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Last month, Stars GM Jim Nill said he hoped to re-sign Seguin before the start of the season but that wasn’t a hard deadline.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell suggests Seguin could become next summer’s version of John Tavares if he hits the free-agent market. He notes Seguin has outscored Tavares over the past five years and sits tied for second with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby in goals during that stretch behind Washington’s Alex Ovechkin. Campbell wonders if the Stars are willing to pay Seguin more than captain Jamie Benn’s eight-year, $76-million contract.
THE ATHLETIC: Sean Shapiro reports there were deeper negotiations during the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas between the Stars and the Seguin camp. The two sides have spoken since then but there’s no indication they’ve made progress if Seguin is expressing disappointment. Nill said there’s no update but dialogue continues. The talk is based upon where the market is going for a player like Seguin. Multiple sources claims the Stars had reservations in the past over paying a player more than Benn. It’s unclear if that attitude still holds but that approach won’t help them re-sign Seguin, who’s expressed his desire to stay in Dallas.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the focus is on market value, Seguin’s representatives could be seeking a cap hit comparable to Tavares. If that’s the case, the Stars front office will have to decide if they’re comfortable paying that much while Benn earns less. If Benn doesn’t have an issue with it then it solely depends upon how much more the Stars are willing to pay Seguin.
Like Pacioretty, the longer Seguin goes without a new contract the more speculation there will be over his future. The Stars won’t be shopping Seguin now but that could change come February if they’re struggling to reach the playoffs.