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#67 Max Pacioretty 2017-18


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So here's my take on Pacioretty:

1. He is an elite scorer. Very few players have as many goals as him in the past 5 years, and no matter how bad his starts to the season are, he manages to finish with 30+ goals consistently. He scores in bunches, which many/most elite scorers do, but he gets his goals when all is said and done.

2. He's on an extremely favorable contract right now, albeit that will end in a year and half. MB, like he did with Carey, will need to decide by the end of this season whether he plans on trying to extend Pacioretty for a 6-8 year deal worth 7-9M a season or whether he plans on trading Pacioretty and moving in another direction. Personally, I think Pacioretty has more value than Duchene, although how other GM's view him is a completely different story. But clearly, there would be a market for a player like Pacman. If we could re-sign him to a 4 year deal for 5-6M a season, I think there is zero doubt he's worth keeping. But again, that type of contract wasn't an option with Price and it's not going to be an option with Max. Thinking of trading Pacioretty while he's still elite and affordable isn't a knock on Pacioretty, it's a decision a shrewd GM has to consider if he wants to sell high and maximize return. If Marc Bergevin thinks he can win a Cup this year or next, then he should retain Pacioretty AND he needs to be aggressive at adding 2 more core pieces (2nd line center and top-pairing LHD) with his cap space to make that viable. If Bergevin doesn't think we can be one of the 6-8 teams with the best odds at a Cup, then it's probably a better hockey decision to try and trade players like Pacioretty, Weber, and Price now and give himself a longer window to win later.

3. Fully agreed that Pacioretty can score goals no matter who he plays with. He seems to be at his best when playing with a right winger who drives the net, creates traffic and confusion, and allows him to settle into a spot unnoticed and get his shot off. I think Erik Cole was the best complement we had to Pacioretty the entire time he's been here, although Radulov, Weise, Gallagher, and now Shaw have all fit that bill. Who the center has been has been less consequential in my view, although out of everyone, I actually really thought Eller was the best fit for him. Eller was also a guy who was strong on the puck, went into traffic, etc. for what it's worth.

4. Despite point 3, I do have criticisms of Pacioretty. While he can score goals, I have a hard time seeing a team rally around him emotionally, the way we've seen teams rally around captains like Gainey and Koivu and players like Subban and Kovalev and so on. Maybe that's cause Max rarely gets involved physically, maybe that's cause he seems like a very by-the-book guy who prefers to invoke logic rather than passion. I don't know what it is, but I just don't feel he's a guy who puts the team on his back in tough times. He does hos own thing well, but I don't feel the team raises its level of play via his lead. Hard to quantify, hard to know if it's true, but just the vibe I get. As noted, Max also has his flaws in terms of bad passes in the O zone, poor performance on the PP, and some bad penalties for not moving his feet.

5. Lastly, on the subject of fair treatment, I absolutely think Max gets privileges other players don't get. Same for guys like Plekanec and Markov for many years. There are certain guys who the coaches lean on and don't seem to penalize as harshly. Max goes 35+ games without a PP goal and he's still out there. Max takes 2 hooking penalties in the O zone within 10 minutes and he doesn't miss a shift. Yet other players are moved around the line-up, lose PP duty, and get benched for less. Now I am absolutely not saying I want to see Max on the 4th or in the pressbox, but I do want to see other skill players given the same leash Pacman gets. That just doesn't happen. And so Max might have had to play with weak centers, but frankly, the Habs haven't had strength down the middle since Max has been here, so it's hard to say anyone else has had an advantage. Galchenyuk showed up here after Plekanec's "prime" years and he certainly didn't get a lot of opportunity for good minutes with Eller (they were always treated as a 3rd line when together, outside of the EGG experiment when they dominated). But if we look at 5v5 minutes this season, the top 5 guys are in order Shaw, Danault, Pacioretty, Drouin, and Plekanec. That has nothing to do with penalty killing or PP or anything else. Just 5v5. Galchenyuk, Lehkonen, and Hudon are all getting 2 minutes less per game at 5v5 than the Shaw's and Pacioretty's of the team. So do I think Pacman deserves a long leash at ES? Yes. But I think AG, Lehkonen, Hudon, and Gallagher have been given shorter leashes a little bit unfairly, and I certainly think Pacioretty should be bumped off the first PP wave. Getting opportunity isn't Pacioretty's fault, but it definitely irritates me to see guys treated differently (same as when DD got 1st line duties and PP minutes despite poor performances or when Eller or Briere or Sekac or PAP or Semin got doghoused for no real reason).

So bottom line for me is that Pacioretty is an elite scorer but whereas he hasn't needed to rely on linemates to pot goals, he has had favorable treatment in terms of 5v5 and powerplay deployment. And at the end of the day, the big question is not whether he can help the team, but whether we can afford to pay him out on his next contract.

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14 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

If Marc Bergevin thinks he can win a Cup this year or next, then he should retain Pacioretty AND he needs to be aggressive at adding 2 more core pieces (2nd line center and top-pairing LHD) with his cap space to make that viable.

Ive read a few analysts who think Bergevin's plan is to make massive moves at the trade deadline.  He will have like $35m in cap space at that point & there is a belief he will try to trade picks or prospects for several impact pending UFAs  

Im not sure if i believe it, or if he'll be able to accomplish it, but it at least is one of the only credible theories as to why he's decided to keep so much cap space available.  Of course the problem is, if we dont have a team with very very good odds of winning we are really shooting ourselves in the foot going forward - but - it would almost guarantee a rebuild in the near future (with somewhat bare cupboards mind you). 

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44 minutes ago, CaptWelly said:

No you do by being one of the most consistent and top players with game winning goals! 

Yup.   Pacioretty is 26th in Game Winning goals amongst all active players in the league.  Of the 25 people ahead of him, all except Stamkos (started the same year as him)  have played more seasons (a lot of them many many more seasons) than him.

 
Clearly he only scores meaningless goals.  :rolleyes:

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45 minutes ago, Litany said:

Game winning goal traditionally refers to the goal that wins the game... So in a 5-2 game, the third goal for the winning team is the game winning goal.  By definition, every game winning goal is significant.

Max has scored a lot of key goals and most GWG are significant, but I will dispute your point with a couple of examples:

1. The Habs score 4 straight goals int he 1st period to take a 4-0 lead, and Max scores the 4th one. The opposition comes back and score 2, followed by the Habs getting 2 back in the 2nd. The Habs score 2 more goals in the 3rd and win 8-3. Max's goal (the 4th one we scored) is the GWG.

2. We are up 2-1 and Max scores an empty net goal to put us up 3-1 with 30 seconds to go. The opposition gets one back with 5 seconds to play, so Max's ENG is the GWG.

 

The goals stand up, but were they "clutch" goals or "goal-scorers" goals? Not really... all that said, Max has absolutely done a great job in OT and at times over his career. But the GWG stat doesn't necessarily reflect how clutch a player is.

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Fair points, and while we mostly agree to the over all point, I contest point two.

An empty net goal is normally a pretty pointless tally, kinda like the eighth goal in your first example.  However, if that empty net goal stands up as the winner, it's absolutely a significant goal.  By virtue of the other team scoring, the empty netter is the deciding goal.  It's Schrodinger's goal - both worthless and the only goal that mattered [in simplistic, overarching terms].

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a goal is a goal, a point is a point, but for his average time on ice to his production, if u get 20 min or more a game you should be doing better than 12 points in 18 games, id argue max is a 2nd line player, but to think if you dropped him down to 15 min a game he may never score. but it is nice to see him scoring

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14 hours ago, Ravadak said:

YUP, meaningless goals that is somewhat true, players that have played more then 400 games since 2010, he is  8th overall for empty net goals..

I mean, since 11-12 (first full season) he's 3rd in the NHL in goals. I'm not saying he's clutch or uncluch but his distribution of goals seems pretty reasonable to me, some ENGs for sure but he plays the last minute of tight games. Not a crazy amount of ENGs or anything. A huge amount of GWGs which doesn't prove clutchness or anything to me, just shows what a high % of our goals he scores due to him being our only legitimately consistent finisher for a long time. We've won a lot of close games over the last few years and he leads the team in goals every single year. Seems like an obvious by-product of that. As do the ENG for a guy who plays on a team that plays a lot of close games and is trusted to play in the final minutes.


People look into his goals too much, probably because he's our only player who scores. There's nothing really that stands out about his distribution. He's an elite 5 on 5 goal scorer every year. He generally scores okay on the PP but really, he should be on the 2nd unit. Or at the least not on the half wall on the first unit but that's another issue and it's a coaching issue. 

He does well with advanced metrics, scores a lot of goals at 5 on 5 and guys who score 5 on 5 are difficult to find. He's not necessarily the most graceful and can be rough to watch sometimes. Frustrating but 35 goal, 300 shot, good possession wingers making 4.5 million a year are always going to be insanely valuable. He's an insanely valuable player and has been for a long time. I'd be careful with a long term contract through his 30's and we should have been careful with it for Price and taking on Weber's already but it's been hard to argue his value. I'm not romantic about him, he's really good on a great contract. This deadline might be his peak value trade wise, a year and a half at 4.5 million. Next year in season he just becomes another really good rental but you sort of diminish the value of the contract. If the things are going badly, he's one of a few guys I would seriously consider cashing in (along with Galchenyuk, Shaw and maybe Gallagher).

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^^ Pretty bang on, Roy.

The GWG don't necessarily tell you how clutch a guy is, just like +/- doesn't tell you how good a player someone is. But the GWG do reflect that the guy simply scores a lot of goals. Almost fully agreed on his trade value... I think if he signs a long-term extension, then his value plummets, so you're almost stuck with him for the long haul, and I'm not sure that we can afford to be tied up to Weber-Price-Pacioretty for another 6-8 years. That's a great trio to have 3-4 years ago but not 3-4 years from now. I would tend to agree that Pacioretty would have huge value this year to a contender, because they can squeeze him under the contract for peanuts relative to what he brings. But I also think he could have value this off-season too... why? Because a team could arrange a trade-and-extend deal, where they get him for one bargain year and then know what it would take to lock him up and know he isn't going anywhere. So a team that has less money tied up than us long-term might be willing to give Pacioretty 6-7 years at 7-8M, whereas that would be less of a smart deal for us to make. Ultimately, I don't think we can retain all of Price, Weber, and Pacioretty on long-term deals. If Pacman is staying, at least one of the other two has to be traded before the Pacioretty extension is signed.

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On ‎11‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 4:02 PM, BigTed3 said:

Max has scored a lot of key goals and most GWG are significant, but I will dispute your point with a couple of examples:

1. The Habs score 4 straight goals int he 1st period to take a 4-0 lead, and Max scores the 4th one. The opposition comes back and score 2, followed by the Habs getting 2 back in the 2nd. The Habs score 2 more goals in the 3rd and win 8-3. Max's goal (the 4th one we scored) is the GWG.

2. We are up 2-1 and Max scores an empty net goal to put us up 3-1 with 30 seconds to go. The opposition gets one back with 5 seconds to play, so Max's ENG is the GWG.

 

The goals stand up, but were they "clutch" goals or "goal-scorers" goals? Not really... all that said, Max has absolutely done a great job in OT and at times over his career. But the GWG stat doesn't necessarily reflect how clutch a player is.

To each their own but a game winning goal is pretty much what a clutch player is. I really believe if Chucky had this same stat everyone would be saying how clutch he is. I don't get the dislike of Pacs? Is it because people still believe he had something to do with the Subban trade? (he didn't get over it!) Is it because he's American (like Chucky!) The TEAM you know the guys in the locker room whom actually play with him voted him in! The stat of empty net goals actually does have definite meaning also. When are empty net goals scored ? When you're team is trying to defend the team from coming back (usually the other team has a push on) So this means responsible players you can trust are on the ice. The biggest point to the empty net goal is it also STOPS the other teams chances of coming back "ices" the game. Is it just that Pacs empty net goals don't mean anything or Toews / Crosby/ Bergeron others that are actually on the ice at the most crucial time of the game their efforts don't count either? I would much rather have a Captain that was calm and cool headed like a Toews or Pacs than others that over react. Gets the game winning goals yes gets empty net goals , because he's on the ice when the team needs it most doesn't panic and doesn't say stupid things to the press or other teams. 

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32 minutes ago, CaptWelly said:

To each their own but a game winning goal is pretty much what a clutch player is. I really believe if Chucky had this same stat everyone would be saying how clutch he is. I don't get the dislike of Pacs? 

There's a long history of wingers getting tons of criticism if they're the best forward on a team that hasn't had a ton of success. Kessel, Nash, Hall, Pacioretty, and Ovechkin all got it. I think for Pacioretty it's a combination of this along with that he doesn't really have a super exciting or intense style of play. I also think because of his size people just expect he should play like Lucic and get mad because he doesn't while Gallagher goes hard to the net etc.

The only major exception I can think of is Jamie Benn. The Stars have been spinning their tires for years and not really taken the next step, I think he avoids the criticism because he plays a grittier and more physical game and they have the built in excuse of Seguin's supposed character issues (and the legitimate excuse of horrid goaltending). Kucherov too I guess but I think that's because the average fan is probably only just this year starting to think of him as a high end elite forward and Stamkos is still the face of the franchise.

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^^

- I completely believe that Max is the best forward on our team right now. I completely believe he is our best goal-scorer, and I have stated many many times that he is underrated in the league in this role. He's obviously a bargain for his contract, and he does a great job in the transition game as well. I've also defended the fact that he's streaky, because most goal-scorers are, and you'll find if you look back that I stated several times this season when we were on our losing streak that I had no doubt Max would score his goals and get to 30+ again this year. I don't doubt Max's ability to score at all.

- That said, there are definitely things I don't love about Pacioretty. First and foremost, I don't think he should be the captain of this team. Regardless about what his relationship with Subban was like, I simply feel like Subban would have made a better captain than Pacioretty. Subban was vocal, he spoke to the media every night and wasn't afraid to face the music, and he stuck up for his teammates every time he was asked. But most importantly, he played with a fire and passion on just about every play. I do think Max cares a heck of a lot about the Habs and winning, don't get me wrong, but he doesn't inspire energy in me as a fan the way guys like Subban and Koivu and Gainey and Kovalev and Roy did. Pacioretty falls more into that category of players like Markov, Plekanec, Weber, and Gorges... guys who play well, who seem to love playing here, but who just don't play with the same personality and fire you get from those other guys. So while I love Pacioretty as a goal scorer and ice hockey player, I'm not in love with his being our captain.

- The other thing that's an issue for me with Pacioretty is the favoritism he gets from coaches. It happened with Desharnais, it happened with other guys as well. But as a fan, I want to see players rewarded for playing well and given equal treatment when they don't. So it's much easier for me to argue on behalf of players like Subban, Galchenyuk, PAP, Eller, Semin, Beaulieu, and Hudon who are getting less than their fair share of ice time and acknowledgement from the coaches; and similarly, it's much easier to play devil's advocate to the coach when discussing guys who are being favored, like DD, Pacioretty, Markov, Plekanec, Shaw, and so on. So again, it's not that there's any hatred to the player himself, but part of the discussion is pointing out why Pacioretty doesn't deserve the favoritism he's getting. He's played well at 5v5, but on the PP he's been abysmal, yet he keeps getting 1st wave time. My argument is that the team would be better off trying guys there who are having more success... Galchenyuk, Hudon, Gallagher, and so on. For equal salary and contract and for one season, I'll take Pacioretty on my team over any of those guys. But Pacioretty doesn't need people arguing in his favor with the coaches; Galchenyuk does, because no matter what he does, he's the guy who's getting targeted to play on the 4th line and have his ice time diminished. So for people defending Pacioretty, I don't know that it's that people are attacking him so much as people are calling out the coaches for giving him more than he deserves while others get less than they deserve.

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1 hour ago, BigTed3 said:

 

- That said, there are definitely things I don't love about Pacioretty. First and foremost, I don't think he should be the captain of this team. Regardless about what his relationship with Subban was like, I simply feel like Subban would have made a better captain than Pacioretty. Subban was vocal, he spoke to the media every night and wasn't afraid to face the music, and he stuck up for his teammates every time he was asked. But most importantly, he played with a fire and passion on just about every play. I do think Max cares a heck of a lot about the Habs and winning, don't get me wrong, but he doesn't inspire energy in me as a fan the way guys like Subban and Koivu and Gainey and Kovalev and Roy did. Pacioretty falls more into that category of players like Markov, Plekanec, Weber, and Gorges... guys who play well, who seem to love playing here, but who just don't play with the same personality and fire you get from those other guys. So while I love Pacioretty as a goal scorer and ice hockey player, I'm not in love with his being our captain.

 

And I don't think with the way he plays he inspires energy in his team mates nearly as much as he should. 

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11 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

PJ Stock on Pacioretty:

"How can you win anything when your leader is constantly happy with losing in OT and just getting a lot of shots from the perimeter. You have to want to do more than that."

Lately, I've seen him be more engaged in the corners.

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12 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

PJ Stock on Pacioretty:

"How can you win anything when your leader is constantly happy with losing in OT and just getting a lot of shots from the perimeter. You have to want to do more than that."

Good old PJ Stock, Pacioretty's shot location charts doesn't show a bad perimeter player. He had a lot of chances last night, actually played well. Led the team in chances. He's had some ugly games to start the season but he's been better lately.

As for the captaincy, it's so hard for me to assess/care, it just seems to come with the territory, I moderated here when Saku was here and A LOT of people thought he was a bad captain but he seems to be remembered much more fondly in hindsight. IF the captain has a relevant role, most of it goes on behind closed doors. I'm not really sure it's relevant, the letter doesn't mean Weber or Price can't be a or even the leader on the team. It feels like Montreal is the only market that overrates it to the degree it does. Even Toronto isn't as bad. 

Should Subban have been captain? I don't know, he has a lot of positive on-ice passion but some of the stuff he does could shine an, unnecessary light maybe on a very controversial position already. That stupid mouthwash story, for example. Did it matter? No, was it discussed to death? Yes. If he did it as captain of the Canadiens in the finals and it played out that way it would still be blowing up. I don't know, also he seemed to have a lot of problems with different teammates and it being a team vote, he was probably not winning lol. 

I just think, who cares? The team voted for Pacioretty so whatever. Was Gionta a GREAT captain? He was a good dude, so is Pacioretty. He looked serious, I suppose. Who knows, though really. Everyone has a preconceived notion of what a captain should be, but whatever the reason they voted Pacioretty for is fine. If the team is lacking leadership, go get more leaders I guess. I really don't buy a guy can't be a leader without a letter. Weber can be the leader. Imagine him with the C if it makes people feel better.

Max deserves criticism at times but a lot it is tied to things that are rumors or seem made up. He's not playing well AND he ran Subban out of town. I don't think he had nearly enough pull to run Subban out of town, the only player they respect enough to have that kind of power is Price, who I also don't think ran Subban out of town. He's not scoring right now AND he's a bad captain. He's got warts, he deserves heat. I just wish the tabloid stuff wouldn't be tied in but it's Montreal.

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