Dreger: Pacioretty’s voice most telling in trade request debate

Did Max Pacioretty ask for a trade from the Montreal Canadiens or not?

It may be a moot point following the former captain’s trade to the Vegas Golden Knights Sunday evening, but with Marc Bergevin and Geoff Molson saying one thing and Pacioretty and his agent saying another - it certainly makes for an interesting discussion.

“I mean, you can’t make this stuff up, can you,” mused Darren Dreger during a Tuesday morning radio hit on Montreal’s TSN 690. “It’s like a plague that follows the Montreal Canadiens. Every turn when they’re trying to turn a negative into a positive automatically they as an organization get slammed right in the forehead by a negative. And that’s what this is.

“In the big picture, does it matter? No, it doesn’t matter. We believe, collectively I think, that Marc Bergevin got at least fair return for Max Pacioretty. He moved a piece that was valuable to the team, but didn’t have a future. Pacioretty in Montreal had pretty much run out of runway. So he gets good value, I think, in return.

“So you’re dealing with the semantics of did he ask for a trade or didn’t he ask for a trade. I mean, what makes it a big story, of course, is the owner of the Montreal Canadiens, Molson, comes out and says yes, he asked for a trade. And then you’ve got Allan Walsh, who is emotionally charged when he’s making bacon and eggs in the morning - that’s just what fuels Allan Walsh.

“But for me, the most telling is the voice of Max Pacioretty. I don’t think that Pacioretty would mislead anyone. He’s certainly not going on the radio talking to the media and saying, ‘I did not ask for a trade’ unless he didn’t ask for a trade.

“Where this thing might get a little bit muddy is the relationship that exists between Pat Brisson and Marc Bergevin. And not to implicate Pat, because it doesn’t really matter again in the grand scheme of things. Was there a conversation at some point in time where Pat said, ‘Hey, you know what. It’s probably best just to get this deal done and move him.’ And was then that perceived to be an official trade request by the captain of the Montreal Canadiens.

“I’m guessing - I don’t have inside information on that - but that’s the only way that makes any sense for Molson to conclude that an official trade request was made, and then to hear Max Pacioretty to say fairly definitively that he did not request that trade.”

Following Pacioretty’s trade to Vegas, the Golden Knights signed him to a four-year, $28 million extension, which includes a modified no-trade clause.

That new contract will kick in for the 2019-20 campaign.

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