Revealed: Cup Contender That Pacioretty Declined to be Traded To

We knew that veteran Max Pacioretty was a wanted man at the trade deadline... The only question was whether he and/or the Washington Capitals were prepared to make a move to trade him to a contender. The answer turned out to be 'no', and now we're learning of one specific team that the 35-year-old specifically declined to be traded to.

Sammi Silber of The Hockey News reports that the 16-year veteran declined to take his act to Broadway:

Just over a month ago, with the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline ticking down, the Washington Capitals were reportedly set to send Max Pacioretty to the New York Rangers, giving the 35-year-old a chance to go to a guaranteed contender and compete for a Cup after back-to-back torn Achilles held him out for the better part of two seasons. However, he declined to waive his no-movement clause, electing to stay in D.C.

That decision seems to have aged well for Pacioretty, who has helped lead the Caps through some ups and downs on a late-season scramble to a potential playoff spot, currently tied with the Detroit Red Wings for the 2nd Wild Card spot with two games to play. 

"I think at the trade deadline, every person in the world kind of had us out of it," Pacioretty told Silber. "When you're sitting on a couch for the better part of two years, these are the times of the season and the games that you miss playing the most."

Pacioretty lost most of the previous two seasons to not one, but two torn Achilles injuries. He signed a one-year deal with Washington with a full no-movement clause, and wanted to see this thing out. 

And while the Rangers remain a prime Stanley Cup contender with the best record in the NHL, he's happy to have had this experience with the Capitals.

"As a competitor, you always want to have meaning to these games, and we've given ourselves a chance here to make a run for the playoffs, And like I said, that's what you enjoy doing the most is playing these emotional games."

Photo; Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports