The optics of the story seem to go back and forth but the most recent development in the drama surrounding Max Pacioretty is that the Montreal Canadiens are now unwilling to even negotiate with the forward and are looking to trade him "as soon as possible."
After rumors surfaced that Pacioretty was unwilling to talk extension with the LA Kings, the idea of him being traded there was shot down. Then, when it became clear he wanted to stay in Montreal and the Canadiens were having a hard time landing big-name free agents, it seemed as though all paths were leading to the organization trying to extend the multi-time 30-goal scorer. If a report from Marc Antoine Godin of The Athletic (subscription required) is accurate, things have drastically changed.
Godin writes, "But the new element in this story appears to be the refusal to even negotiate that has been communicated to Pacioretty… So we seem to have reached a point of no return in the relationship between the Canadiens and their captain of the last three seasons.”
It is unclear why the Canadiens have taken such a hard stance on the winger but the club appears prepared to move him regardless of his 2018-19 contract being favorable to the team. The idea of trading him as quickly as they can open the franchise up to getting less in return but something is clearly broken between the two sides. Is it simply the length of term Pacioretty may want in his next extension?
Pacioretty has no trade protection and there will be plenty of teams interested in acquiring him. His 17 goals last season was a downturn in production but he's still a player who produced five consecutive 30-goal seasons and is one of the premier scorers in the NHL.
It will be interesting to see what the Canadiens can get in return if the NHL knows of the rocky relationship. The Penguins were rumored to have interest but speculation is they would want Phil Kessel to be included in any potential trade.