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New York Islanders Trade Rumor for Montreal Canadiens Max Pacioretty

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 10: Max Pacioretty #67 of the Montreal Canadiens skates the puck in overtime against the Nashville Predators during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on February 10, 2018 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Nashville Predators defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 10: Max Pacioretty #67 of the Montreal Canadiens skates the puck in overtime against the Nashville Predators during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on February 10, 2018 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Nashville Predators defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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It seems a deal was in place between the New York Islanders and the Montreal Canadiens that would see the Isles bring in the Habs captain Max Pacioretty.

According to a report, there was a deal in place to send Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty to the New York Islanders for one of the Islanders first-round picks on draft day. This is according to Sportsnet’s Eric Engels.

It’s a head-scratcher for sure. Why would the Islanders ever want to make that trade?

There’s no doubt that Pacioretty is a great goal scorer. In the last five seasons, Pacioretty has 158 goals. Good for tenth in the league in that period. But scoring goals isn’t a problem for the New York Islanders.

They had two players with over 35 goals and another three with 20 or more goals. At the end of the season, the Islanders scored 261 goals, ranking their offense tied for seventh in the league with the Nashville Predators.

Thankful It Never Happened

The deal never took place. Engels attributes the deal falling through to the actions of some teams at the draft. When the Isles knew they were going to be able to draft two top-ten prospects they pulled the plug on the deal.

"We’re told that deal was on the table up until the picks started rolling in. […] And after the Vancouver Canucks took defenceman Quinn Hughes, the Chicago Blackhawks took defenceman Adam Boqvist and the New York Rangers went off the board with right winger Vitaly Kravtsov, it suddenly became abundantly clear that Lamoriello was going to land two of the consensus top-10 prospects in the draft by holding onto his positions."

That certainly makes sense. But the deal doesn’t add up in the first place. Why would the Islanders want to bring in Max Pacioretty when they have greater needs for that $4.5 million they’d have to pay him?

I’m sure the Canadiens tabled the deal to the Islanders, but I doubt that Lou Lamoriello considered it. It may make the Islanders better going forward, but it doesn’t help them on the back end. Which is exactly where the Isles need help.

Pacioretty had a -1.98 relative expected goals for in 2017-18. Meaning his team was expected to score more with him on the ice than not. Not a good look for a top-ten goal scorer in the NHL.

So why the heck would the Islanders do this trade? Like Dom wrote on Lighthouse Hockey:

"It’s unclear where the “we’re told the deal was on the table” leak is coming from — you might bet on the Canadiens (to explain to their fans “WE ALMOST ENDED THIS DRAMA AND ALMOST GOT O’REILLY, GUYS”), or possibly Pacioretty’s former or current agent, or it could be a league source if talks progressed to that point. (“Deal was on the table” is also vague enough to not mean that all parties were agreed on conditions.)"

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The Islanders likely received the offer but never did anything with it. Ever. Which makes sense when you look at the roster and what the Islanders need, Max Pacioretty isn’t one of them.

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