It’s not as if the idea of trading Max Pacioretty hadn’t occurred to Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin before the player became mired in one of the worst slumps of his career.

It’s not as if the possibility hadn’t been on Pacioretty’s radar, either.

“You always envision the best and maybe prepare for the worst,” said Pacioretty on Monday.

That’s smart thinking, no matter which party you are in this equation.

Both Bergevin and Pacioretty had high hopes things would turn out well for the Canadiens this season, but considering the team is closer to obtaining a lottery pick in the 2018 NHL Draft than it is to competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs — sitting in 27th place in the 31-team NHL, with nearly half the games now in the rearview mirror — another reality must be dealt with.

The truth is that trading the left-winger before this year’s February deadline would be more beneficial to Bergevin and the Canadiens than keeping him on as captain of a sinking ship. Even if Pacioretty has failed to score in his last 12 games and has only one goal in his last 22, his perennial 30-goal prowess, his $4.5-million cap hit through 2019 and his age (29) will prove extremely attractive to other teams and likely offer Bergevin his best opportunity to redeem assets that can help the Canadiens now and in the future.

That’s why Nick Kypreos’ report on Hockey Night in Canada this past Saturday, that Bergevin is actively shopping Pacioretty, came as no surprise.