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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
News of Max Pacioretty's six year contract extension that broke late Monday night came as a surprise to many. Immediate reactions to the deal seemed to range from happy to very happy; the contract is one of the few things that the majority of the Habs' fan base seems to be in agreement on. Having had time to assess the pact, which does not include a no-trade or no-movement clause, do our writers share the same positive sentiments?
Matt Dilworth: In signing Max Pacioretty to a 6-year extension, Marc Bergevin has succeeded in locking up another core component for Montreal's future. A 30-goal scorer by age 23, Pacioretty is the prototypical forward that every team covets, and one that the Canadiens have been lacking for so long. Looking past the obvious positives, Max's $4.5M cap hit is a steal for someone who should threaten 30-40 goals from this point on, and he reportedly signed for less to give Montreal a better opportunity to compete. This unselfish behaviour, paired with the maturity and mental strength shown in rebounding from the horrible Chara incident shows that Max ranks high in the "intangibles" department, which I feel is a further asset to the Habs. Montreal's future looks that much brighter with this contract inked, and I look forward to seeing what he will accomplish moving forward.
Brian La Rose: In looking at any sort of long-term contract, one of the elements I always look at is the risk factor. If Pacioretty were to regress from last seasons' numbers, at what point would the contract become cumbersome? With the rates as they are today, $4.5 million is decent value for a second liner, let alone a top forward. As a result, there is very little risk here (aside from the injury potential which exists at all times) which makes this the right contract at the right time. For all of the commotion and hubbub around the disastrous 2011-12 season, it's also nice to see the younger core players not backing away and instead signing up for the long haul. Power forwards are hard to find and even harder to keep. Marc Bergevin, with this deal, has ensured that the Habs will have one for a long time and I, like many other fans (just look at our poll results), couldn't be happier.
Alex Létourneau: This was an excellent move by Marc Bergevin to lock up this emerging power forward until the 2019-2020 season at a very reasonable cap hit of $4.5 million over six years. Max Pacioretty showed no ill effects from the horrific Zdeno Chara hit two seasons ago and there’s no reason to think that at 23 years young he will regress. His 33 goals and team-leading 65 points were one of the sole bright spots in an ugly season and rejoining his line mates, who all hit career highs last year, should wield another season of potency on the attack.
Pacioretty has shown that he is a strong character and believes in his ability to excel in the NHL. He has shown that he can talk big and back it up. His work ethic to regain and surpass his previous season’s success on the heels of a career ending injury should leave a nice taste in the organization’s and fan base’s mouth. He had a wonderful IIHF World Championships tournament and with training camp around the corner, smart money would be to bet on him showing up in better physical and mental shape. Canadiens fans should be happy to count Pacioretty in the teams long term plans over the better part of the next decade.
- Pacioretty Sees 20:20 posted by Ken Beaumont