Many expected a change for Max Pacioretty, but not this kind of change!
At the end of the 2018 NHL draft, the one whose name was associated with the Sabres, Kings, Sharks, Hurricanes and Panthers is still part of the Montreal Canadiens. But he is no longer part of the CAA agency, headed by Quebecer Pat Brisson.
In fact, on Saturday afternoon, the influential agent Allan Walsh dropped a bomb in the hockey world confirming the information first put forward by TVA Sports that Pacioretty joined the group Octagon, headed by Walsh .
The news brought many to believe this was the beginning of the end for the Habs Captain to stay in Montreal. Firstly because it is announced a week before July 1st, a date from which Pacioretty will have the right to sign an extension of contract (his current agreement expires on July 1st, 2019).
Secondly, because Pacioretty joined Brisson in 2013, after signing his current six-year contract. This contract was negotiated by Alec Schall, whom Pacioretty thanked later. Brisson worked for the Canadien number 67 for more than four years without ever representing him for a contract negotiation!
The other strange aspect is that Brisson - it is well known - is a close friend of Marc Bergevin. Over the years, some CH players, including David Desharnais and Alex Galchenyuk, have turned to Brisson for representation. The good relationship between the agent and the Chief Executive Officer surely have not affected the subsequent negotiations. Could this proximity have on the contrary repelled Pacioretty? After all, we could also understand a player seeing with a bad eye that his agent has a long-standing friendship with a CEO.
Once the separation with Brisson was announced, it was however natural that Pacioretty turns to Walsh, especially because every summer, the Canadiens captain trains with Paul Gagné, a physical trainer associated with Walsh for more than 20 years.
At the moment that the news of Pacioretty's change of agent was known, Walsh was seen in the stands of the American Airlines Arena, sometimes in conversation with Bergevin, sometimes with Doug Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of the San Jose Sharks.
It was there where a rumor of a transaction involving the captain of the Canadian-Sharks began to circulate. Rumor whose origin seems to be the journalist Jim Cerny, of Sporting News. The information spread like wildfire, but never materialized.
What happens next looks interesting. The forward players market could certainly unlock now that Ilya Kovalchuk has joined the Kings. The teams targeting Russia's players can now turn to other options.
One of these options is of course John Tavares, still without a contract for next season. The Athletic Arthur Staple colleague reported Saturday that Tavares would spend the next few days in Los Angeles listening to a few different offers. We need to remember that the teams are now entitled to a five-day negotiation window before July 1st to discuss with future Free-agents.
It remains to be seen whether the domino effect will have repercussions in the Pacioretty case. If he were to stay with the Montreal Canadiens for the next season, we are entitled to ask in what state of mind will he be, after hearing countless rumors of transactions circulating about him.