Announcement: Canadiens Agree $1.5 million Deal To Reunite With Free Agent Forward

Announcement: Canadiens Agree $1.5 million Deal To Reunite With Free Agent Forward

The Montreal Canadiens look into bringing back a familiar face to the Habs fold during the offseason if they are interested and can reach a deal with unrestricted free agent Max Pacioretty.

Nobody within the Habs organization will disclose their plans. According to Blain Potvin of The Hockey Writers, “some are hoping to see Max Pacioretty return to Montreal as a UFA,” which might be “a way to find closure for Pacioretty and Habs fans.”

Pacioretty spent the first ten years of his career with the Canadiens, where he earned the “C” as the team’s captain. Potvin believes he can add a veteran presence to the club as it rebuilds.

“He was captain of the Canadiens in a period when the team was struggling, and a return as they are working their way out of a rebuild could be fitting,” says Potvin.

PuckPedia reports that the Canadiens have $10.2 million in cap space to fill their roster. As of July 10, 19 of Montreal’s 23 players were under contract.

Pacioretty might be available for a one-year, $1.5 million contract that fits inside Montreal’s cap space, as per Daily Faceoff’s AFP contract forecasts.

On a strictly financial standpoint, the Habs have more than enough money to sign Pacioretty to a one- or multi-year contract.

Pacioretty signed a one-year contract for $2 million with the Washington Capitals in June 2024. He played in only 47 games during the 2023-24 season, scoring 4 goals and assisting 19 for a total of 23 points. Pacioretty averaged 0.49 points per game and accumulated 25 minutes in penalties.

“Pacioretty is now 35 years old and has suffered some very serious injuries which have caused him to lose a step or two,” stated Potvin. “Last season, the winger had just four goals and 23 points in 47 games, and his age, and the injuries all point to him likely being willing to take a one-year deal for a low cap hit.”

The Canadiens need goal-scoring forwards as the fifth-worst team in total points during the 2024 season, scoring just 76 points in 82 games for an average of 0.92 per contest.

As good as Pacioretty has traditionally been, his greatest days are behind him, and he may be too old for the rebuilding Habs to consider. Pacioretty has only scored more than 50 points twice in the last seven seasons, most recently in 2021 with 51.

“Some argue that having Pacioretty as a third-line winger could help improve the club this season,” Potvin told reporters. “However, with Hughes looking for top-six help, he may not be a good fit as he would at best become a third-line winger that may end up taking the place of a youngster who needs to play.”

Habs GM Kent Hughes Is Building for the Future

After the initial wave of free agency in July, Kent Hughes stated that the franchise’s goal is to construct a club capable of long-term success.

Hughes spoke to media on July 1 and underlined the need to prioritize long-term goals over short-term rewards. He emphasized the danger of stifling young players’ development with long-term commitments to veterans.

“As we’ve said all along, we won’t do something that will provide a short-term gain at the expense of our long-term plan,” Hughes clarified. “And if we commit too far into the future to a player and wind up impeding young players’ advancement, I believe we’re doing a disservice to what we’re trying to achieve. So we went into it knowing the odds were long, trying to prevail and persuade people that this was an attractive place to play despite, I suppose, poorer financial terms.”

Hughes signed forward Juraj Slafkovsky, 22, to an eight-year, $60.8 million contract on Monday, July 1. This aligns with the franchise’s strategy.

Slafkovsky scored 20 goals and 30 assists for 50 total points in 82 games during the 2023-24 season.

The Canadiens drafted Slafkovsky with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. He leads his draft class in games played (121), goals (24), assists (36), and points (60).

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