If the Montreal Canadiens continue to drop the ball in the way they have been all season, a potential rebuild may be in place. After an abundance of terrible moves made by the front office, the Canadiens are currently at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and there is not much to be optimistic about. None of their top players are taking the lead for them and as a result, they are one of the worst teams both offensively and defensively. If the Canadiens do not find a way to get out of this funk, do not be surprised to see an abundance of their core players shipped away.

With that said, in this article we will be looking at eight teams who should trade for Canadiens captain, Max Pacioretty, and seven that should stay away from him. It is important to note that Pacioretty has been the subject of trade rumours and hockey analyst Nick Kypreos expects to see him traded sooner rather than later. Pacioretty has one of the best contracts in the NHL currently, so the Canadiens could end up getting a decent amount back for him. Pacioretty would be an excellent addition for any NHL club in the present, but the price for acquiring him will only be beneficial for teams that are looking to win now. Keep that in consideration when viewing the teams who may or may not be interested in pursuing him.

With that said, here are the teams that should trade for Max Pacioretty and the ones that should ignore the idea.

15. Should: Dallas Stars

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars are off to a fairly average start this season, but with the amount of talent they have on their roster, that will soon change. Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn are enough to carry this team to glory, but once goaltender Ben Bishop finds him game the Stars will be one of the top teams in the Western Conference. They could always use some more depth though.

The Stars are a team that could trade for Max Pacioretty because, although they have some salary cap issues, Pacioretty is on a fairly small contract. Pacioretty would slot in nicely as a second line left wing option for the Stars, as well as provide them with another star on the powerplay. The Stars should look to acquire him if the Canadiens continue to perform poorly.

14. Should Not: Buffalo Sabres

Dominick Gravel-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres are incredibly bad yet again this season and one has to start wondering if they will ever turn it around. The Sabres have been in a rebuilding phase for the majority of this decade and have not shown any signs of progression. Although they now have a franchise centre in Jack Eichel and Ryan O’Reilly, they lack power everywhere else.

The idea of Max Pacioretty being traded to the Buffalo Sabres seems like a reasonable one in theory, but realistically, this cannot happen. For the Sabres to acquire Pacioretty, they would need to give up a first round pick and they cannot afford that with the way they have been struggling. It appears that the Sabres have a few more seasons left in the basement of the NHL, so Pacioretty will not end up there.

13. Should: Chicago Blackhawks

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks are off to a fairly average start, but for them mediocrity is a terrible sign. The Blackhawks have definitely been on the downswing since their last Stanley Cup run due to budget issues, so them not being at the top this year is truly indicative of what direction they could be heading. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews cannot keep carrying this club. They need depth.

With the sudden and devastating loss of Marian Hossa due to a skin condition, the Blackhawks have extra money for the first time in years. The Blackhawks should use their extra cap and pick up Max Pacioretty because, as previously stated, Pacioretty has one of the best contracts in the league right now. A trade for Pacioretty could help the Blackhawks be at the top of the league yet again.

12. Should Not: Arizona Coyotes

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes are off to one of the worst starts in the history of the NHL and that is actually surprising. The Coyotes made a handful of smart transactions this season that should have qualified them as an in-between team. Instead it took them over twenty games to get their first regulation win of the season and that is a clear sign that the rebuild is nowhere close to being finished.

With all of that said, the Arizona Coyotes should avoid trading for Max Pacioretty because it inevitably would mean parting ways with one of their top prospects. The Coyotes need to focus on building within the system, even if that means they will continue to struggle for a few more seasons. A slow and steady rebuild needs to be done yet again by Arizona, so Patches will not end up there.

11. Should: San Jose Sharks

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks are off to a pretty decent start this season and are handling themselves well for a team that just lost Patrick Marleau. With veterans like Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski leading the charge, the Sharks will continue being a threat in the NHL and will focus on the playoffs. Yet, they do need to make some moves to ensure that they will continue being solid.

Max Pacioretty would be an excellent fit for the San Jose Sharks because they need a talented replacement for Patrick Marleau on the left side. It would make a lot of sense for San Jose to move toward trading for Pacioretty because they recognize that their Stanley Cup window is rapidly closing as each season passes. They need to make a huge move to help their chances.

10. Should Not: Detroit Red Wings

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Red Wings are surprisingly off to a very solid start this year and if the season were to stop today, they would be playoff contenders. Although it is likely that the Red Wings are going to fizzle out by the time the season ends, Detroit fans should be excited about what they are currently seeing from the club. The rise of Anthony Mantha is great to see as well.

Although the Red Wings are starting to show positive signs that they are heading in the right direction, they should avoid trading for Max Pacioretty. The Red Wings are nowhere near being a legitimate and consistent threat in the NHL and giving up quality assets for a player who very well could leave is not needed at this time. The Red Wings are still in rebuilding territory, so they should not jump to trade for a star yet.

9. Should: Nashville Predators

Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators were only two games away from winning the Stanley Cup this past season, so it is safe to say that they are a team that is very hungry. The Predators have already added another top line center in Kyle Turris this season and are looking to continue to grow their roster. With that said, the Predators are one star player away from reaching glory.

The Predators would be wise to look at acquiring Max Pacioretty because he is a quality scoring winger and they are looking to win now. Although there have been rumours that P.K. Subban and Max Pacioretty did not get along as teammates in Montreal, it is easy to believe they would put their riff aside if it meant winning a Stanley Cup. Patches would look great in yellow.

8. Should Not: Vancouver Canucks

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks have surprised everyone this season by being playoff contenders through the first quarter. Now, it is easy to believe that the Canucks will drop off fairly soon, but it is admirable to see a youngster like Brock Boeser dominate the veterans around him. The Canucks are heading in the right direction and should be a top team soon enough.

With all that said, the Vancouver Canucks should avoid trading for Max Pacioretty because they cannot part ways with their young talent. The Canucks need to continue to grow from within the system because everyone in the hockey world knows that is the most effective way to win. Although Pacioretty in Vancouver would be good for their fans, it is not the best approach for their rebuild.

7. Should: St. Louis Blues

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues pulled off the deal of the summer by acquiring Brayden Schenn this past offseason. He has meshed perfectly with Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko to form the best top line in the league. The Blues very well could finally win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history if they continue to play this way as the season progresses.

Although the Blues are having a lot of success right now, they should look to trade for Max Pacioretty to help solidify them as the best team in the Western Conference. The Blues have enough assets to make this a reality and it would give them a top tier superstar to add to their roster. The Blues need to try to win because their fans have been waiting for so long and Pacioretty could help them achieve that.

6. Should Not: Colorado Avalanche

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche have finally traded Matt Duchene, so the rebuild is officially underway. Even though last year was an absolute flop, the Avalanche are actually having a pretty solid season this year and currently hold a playoff position. The young guns on the Avalanche are proving that they are ready to be in the big show and this is helping the team immensely.

With all that said, the idea of Max Pacioretty going to the Avalanche could have actually been beneficial. He is currently a captain on an Original Six club, so he does have a lot of wisdom that would help the youngsters of the Avalanche. However the price to acquire Pacioretty is simply too large and would force the Avalanche to get rid of at least one of their top prospects. That simply cannot happen for the rebuilding Avalanche.

5. Should: Pittsburgh Penguins

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins are clearly a top notch team in the NHL and that is perfectly demonstrated by their back to back Stanley Cup championships. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are as talented as ever, and Phil Kessel is having a career year as well. With all of this, however, the Penguins are somewhat struggling this year and that needs to change asap.

If the Penguins were to acquire Max Pacioretty from the Canadiens, it would give them another star on their roster and at a cheap buck as well. The Penguins have an abundance of forwards that they can part ways with because, at the end of the day, the Penguins need to upgrade if they want to win. Patches would likely score at will playing with either Crosby or Malkin.

4. Should Not: Philadelphia Flyers

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It is officially time for the Philadelphia Flyers to hit the panic button because they are losing a huge amount of games. This is truly shocking because the Flyers have so many talented players on their roster, both young and old. The Flyers very well may be heading into an inevitable rebuild and that could lead to stars like Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds to be traded.

With all that said, there is no way that the Flyers should look to pick up Max Pacioretty. Pacioretty would help them a lot, but it is very likely that he would opt to leave as soon as his contract is up. There is no way that Pacioretty would want to play on the Flyers in the state that they are heading, so the Flyers should avoid trading for him. It is time for them to accept the rebuild.

3. Should: Edmonton Oilers

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers are near the bottom of the Western Conference, and with superstars like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl this should not be occurring. The Oilers finally gave their fans high hopes after years of rebuilding and failure, but now, Edmonton is back to a huge feeling of negativity. With that said, the Oilers need to find a way to make their offence better.

Over the past two seasons, the Oilers traded elite forwards Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle and ultimately did not replace them well enough. The Oilers could fix these major issues by acquiring Max Pacioretty because he is a goal scoring machine when he is on his game. The Oilers need to show that they can permanently be a winning club with this roster soon or it could lead back to the past.

2. Should Not: Toronto Maple Leafs

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs are performing the way that the Edmonton Oilers should be and are currently one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. There is no doubt that the Maple Leafs will make the playoffs this season and that is mainly because of Auston Matthews. Matthews is already showing signs of being a true leader and will be the captain in the near future.

Although Max Pacioretty would be an excellent winger for the Maple Leafs, they do not necessarily need to acquire him. The Maple Leafs already have too much depth up front and adding another winger to the mix would lead to another solid player sitting on the bench. The Maple Leafs simply should not get rid of their assets to get another forward. They need defence to win.

1. Should: New York Rangers

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

After starting the year terribly, the New York Rangers have picked up their game and are now back to be a threat to make the playoffs. The Rangers do have a very solid roster of players and should be at the top of the Eastern Conference, but Henrik Lundqvist has been very inconsistent and it shows in their record. The Rangers can turn it around, but change is needed.

Max Pacioretty to the New York Rangers would make so much sense because he grew up in the area. This has been an ongoing rumour since Patches has been in the NHL because the Rangers love bringing in their local boys. Yet, a trade for Pacioretty would make a lot of sense because Rick Nash’s atrocious contract is set to expire this offseason. That means the Rangers have an open spot on their left wing and the cash to make this happen.

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