Lars Eller Opens Up About Ex-Teammate’s Future

usa_today_10553207.0.jpgPhoto: USA Today

Washington Capitals‘ center Lars Eller shared his thoughts about former teammate Max Pacioretty‘s situation with the Montreal Canadiens on Twitter on Thursday evening. 

Pacioretty has been the subject of trade rumors over the past few months besides someone named Erik Karlsson. Pacioretty, who tallied 17 goals, 37 points, and a -16 rating in 64 games last season, can become an unrestricted free agent after the season. The 29-year old forward scored at least 30 goals and 60 points in the four years prior to last season.

The Canadiens’ captain wants to sign with the Canadiens but the team had told him earlier this sumer that there will be no negotiations on a contract extension and the team will trade him as soon as possible. The winger was close to getting traded to the Los Angeles Kings around the draft but Pacioretty declined a contract offer that would’ve taken place if he had gone to Southern California.

In 626 career games with the Canadiens, Pacioretty has 226 goals, 448 points, and a +36 rating.

Montreal finished the season with 71 points, the third-fewest in the Eastern Conference, and 209 goals, the third-fewest in the league. The Canadiens will likely be near the bottom of the standings again this season.

If and when the Canadiens trade Pacioretty, the return better be good or else general manager Marc Bergevin will be in hot water. He has made three bold moves over the past three offseasons and none of them have looked good so far. On June 29, 2016, he traded defenseman P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for defenseman Shea Weber. On June 12, 2017, he traded highly sought defensive prospect Mikhail Sergachev to the Tampa Bay Lightning for forward Jonathan Drouin. This summer, he traded center Alex Galchenyuk to the Arizona Coyotes for winger Max Domi.

Eller, who the Canadiens traded to the Capitals on June 24, 2016 in exchange for two second-round picks, tallied 18 goals, 38 points, and a -6 rating in 81 regular season games for the Capitals last season in his best offensive year of his career. He especially shined in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, when he recorded seven goals, 18 points, and a +6 rating in 24 games. He scored many clutch goals for the Capitals, including the overtime winner of Game 3 against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Round 1 that arguably saved the team’s season and the Stanley Cup-clinching goal in Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights.

The 29-year old center signed a five-year contract extension worth $17.5 million ($3.5 million AAV) with the Capitals on February 10. He could have become an unrestricted free agent this past July 1.

In 435 career games with Montreal, Eller tallied 71 goals, 154 points, and a -35 rating and six goals, 18 points, and a +7 rating in 37 playoff games. He has 30 goals, 63 points, and a +9 rating in 162 career regular season games with the Capitals and seven goals, 23 points, and a +4 rating in 37 playoff games with Washington.

Pacioretty will likely be moved before the season.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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