Blackhawks ‘in talks’ to acquire Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty, Hurricanes’ Jeff Skinner, per report

Chicago has $8.5 million in salary cap space to use.

The Chicago Blackhawks are “in talks” to acquire two top-end talent left wingers in Montreal Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty and Carolina Hurricanes’ Jeff Skinner, reports David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period. Jay Zawaski of 670 the Score also says the Hawks have discussed Skinner, but his source hasn’t heard the same about Pacioretty.

Chicago freed up $8.5 million in salary cap space with a seven-player trade Thursday that included Marian Hossa.

Pacioretty, 29, has one year remaining on his current contract at a $4.5 million cap hit and is coming off a season in which he scored a mere 17 goals. The 6-foot-2, 206-pounder reached the 30-goal mark in each of the previous four seasons.

Marc Antonine Godin of The Athletic reported Tuesday that Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has informed Pacioretty that the team doesn’t plan to negotiate a contract extension this summer and that “his intention is to trade Pacioretty as soon as possible.”

Skinner, 26, also saw a drop in his production this past season with 24 goals and 49 points. In the previous two seasons, he scored at least 28 goals and eclipsed the 50-point mark. The 5-foot-11, 203-pounder also has one year left on his contract with a $5.725 cap hit.

Previous reports have linked Chicago to Carolina, but for defenseman Justin Faulk, who is a top-four right-handed shot the Hawks need. Faulk, also 26, scored 30-plus points a season since the 2013-14 campaign. He He scored 31 points (eight goals, 23 assists) in 76 games last season. Prior to the 2017-18 campaign, he had scored at least 15 goals in each of the last three seasons.

Editor’s note: A previous edition of this story included a photo of Roland McKeown and not Jeff Skinner. The player was incorrectly identified by Getty in SCH’s photo editor system. Thank you to L_B_R for pointing this out!