Calgary Flames: What Would It Take To Get Max Pacioretty?

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 3: Max Pacioretty #67 of the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game against the Anaheim Ducks in the NHL game at the Bell Centre on February 3, 2018 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 3: Max Pacioretty #67 of the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game against the Anaheim Ducks in the NHL game at the Bell Centre on February 3, 2018 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /

The Montreal Canadiens are rumored to be actively shopping their captain and would like to trade him sooner rather than later. So, should the Calgary Flames make an offer and if so what might that look like?

The Calgary Flames have had quite a busy off season. They have made significant changes to the roster both through trade and signings. Brad Treliving clearly thinks that his team needed a shot in the arm, especially at the forward position. This has been evident in the moves he has made. So, with a big name like Max Pacioretty very much on the trade market, should Treliving make one more big splash to add a scoring punch?

For and Against a Trade –

The positives to adding a guy like Max Pacioretty to your lineup should be obvious. “Mad Max” has had four 30 goal seasons in the past five years. He has a career shooting percentage of 11%. The guy knows how to put the puck in the net. This is an immediate help to a team that ranked 27th in goals scored last year. Scoring depth is something the Calgary Flames have really struggled with recently. The addition of James Neal, which you can read more about here, certainly helps enable them to have some depth; but adding Max Pacioretty as well will really give you that forward depth that Stanley Cup winning teams have.

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Some things about Max do concern me. The biggest concern is that he is a free agent at the end of the season. There has never been any indication that Pacioretty would want to play in Calgary, so the Flames’ chances of re-signing him would likely be slim. You would probably be trading for a one-year rental. Max is coming off one of the worst giveaway to takeaway ratios of his career. He also scored just 17 goals last year, after four straight 30+ goal seasons. You begin to wonder if this is the result of playing on a bad team or a sign of regression.

It should be noted that Max Pacioretty is a left winger, which the Calgary Flames certainly have plenty of already. He will turn 30 years old this coming season and will likely be getting his last big contract in the off-season.

The Trade Scenario –

The Montreal Canadiens are in a light rebuild right now. They are not completely selling their team, but clearly are okay with moving out some guys if they are looking to move Pacioretty “ASAP”. So, they will more than likely want a top prospect, an NHL ready player, and a draft pick.

The Calgary Flames will need to move out some salary in any deal. According to, the Flames have around $7.2 million in cap space right now after re-signing Elias Lindholm. The Flames do still need to sign some of their RFA’s, specifically Mark Jankowski and Noah Hanifin. Once they sign those guys, I suspect the Flames will have about $2 million of cap room left.

I think that Michael Frolik is the perfect everyday player to send back to Montreal. Frolik still has value, despite his disappointing stay in Calgary. Frolik is a consistent player who can play wing or center. He is making $4.3 million a year over the next two seasons. Moving Michael Frolik would leave the Flames with around $6 million in cap space, based on my projections. Max Pacioretty carries a cap hit of $4.5 million for this coming season, according to Shipping out Frolik will give the Calgary Flames the cap room to add the Canadiens captain.

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Montreal will also want one of the Calgary Flames top prospects included in any deal for Pacioretty. There are just a few guys that I see making sense here. Spencer Foo is a developing forward who cracked the Flames lineup for a few games last year. He likely won’t make the opening night roster for the Flames, so this wouldn’t affect them this year. I really like his upside. He was a standout player in the NCAA, playing for Union college. I think the Canadiens would like the way he plays the game, and it’s no secret they could use some help on the wing.

Probably the more realistic prospects to go is one of either Rasmus Andersson or Juuso Valimaki. This is obviously a tough pill to swallow, as both seem primed to have very successful careers. Andersson has a good chance of winning the Flames final defensive spot this year, while Valimaki is largely regarded as one of the best defensive prospects in the game. Pair this with the fact that the Flames already traded Adam Fox as part of the Dougie trade and it looks even more unfavorable.

The Verdict –

I think with Frolik, Andersson, their 2020 second round pick, and the Carolina seventh-round pick; the Flames would be able to acquire Max Pacioretty from Montreal. This is certainly a steep price for a player who could be a one-year rental. I think it is too risky to do unless Calgary can get some kind of assurance that they can sign him to a contract before they make the trade. Adding Pacioretty would give the Flames one of the deepest lineups in the league, though, so there is certainly incentive to pull the trigger.

Parting with yet another high draft pick is something that Flames fans are likely not too keen on. The Calgary Flames have parted with too many draft picks in recent years for players that have turned out…underwhelming to be nice.

Losing another top defensive prospect after just trading one away is also a drawback.

Next: Flames lock up Elias Lindholm

Ultimately, the risk of losing Pach after this season is too great for me to fully support going after him. The Flames have the pieces to get him if they wanted to go for it, but I don’t think they’re ready to go all in quite yet. The team is heading in the right direction. Patience is the better route.