The 2018 NHL Draft lacked the fireworks everybody anticipated, but the Montreal Canadiens were reportedly close to providing quite a spark.
The Habs, who selected Finnish pivot Jesperi Kotkaniemi with the No. 3 pick, had a deal in place with the New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres to send captain Max Pacioretty to Long Island for a first-round pick, then flip it to the Sabres in exchange for Ryan O'Reilly, according to Sportsnet's Eric Engels.
Sabres general manager Jason Botterill was asking for the third overall pick, which wasn't an option for the Canadiens, so Habs boss Marc Bergevin turned to the Isles, who held both the 11th and 12th overall picks. It's unclear what other pieces may have been involved, but once prospects Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson fell down the board to New York, the Islanders turned down the deal, adds Engels.
Both Pacioretty and O'Reilly have been rumored to be on the trading block this offseason, and would conceivably fit well in a role with their hypothetical new organizations.
Oh, what could have been.