Late on Sunday night, the Montreal Canadiens finally answered one of the biggest “will they? Won’t they?” Questions if the off season, trading away Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Pacioretty joins up with the Western Conference Champions from the team he’s been with since making his NHL debut in 2008, after he was Canadiens selection with the 22nd overall pick in the 2007 draft.
Vegas send Tomas Tatar, prospect Nick Suzuki as well as a 2019 2nd round pick to Montreal as part of the deal.
Pacioretty has featured in 626 games in his lengthy NHL tenure, posting 226 goals and 222 points for a total of 448 points so far. At 29-years-old, he’s still got plenty left in the tank that will help the Golden Knights moving forward as they gear up to prove their success of last season wasn’t just a fluke.
A gifted left winger, Pacioretty log some big minutes in the upcoming campaign trying to regain his form after a disappointing 37 point campaign for Montreal last year.
The move might not see the US player return to his form straight away, with a career high point total of 67 points that he reached in 2014-15 and 2016-17, but his experience and leadership will he even more valuable as the second year team look to continue to take the hockey world by storm.
Vegas didn’t sell the farm either to get Pacioretty and nor should they have. With an off-year for the former Canadiens captain, his trade value would have dropped as a result, so giving up one player, one prospect and a pick might seem steep, but it’s probably fair market value right now.
Tatar came in late in the season and was a bit of a disappointment, and considering how much Vegas gave up to get him from the Detroit Red Wings, it’s not much of a surprise to see him out of town.
There’s next to no point discussing the second round pick because who knows if Montreal use it to draft a star or bust or just a role player, it’s way too uncertain to be discussed (although many will try).
Nick Suzuki is possibly the biggest part of the deal, even though he’s not laced up for an NHL game yet.
The 19-year-old was the 13th selection in the 2017 draft, and the second ever in Golden Knights history behind Cody Glass.
While a lot is expected of Suzuki when he makes it to the pros, he’s still a couple of years away from being in NHL contention, and with the Golden Knights win now mentality, they can afford to let him go in favour of Pacioretty for now.
Now the question remains about what are the long term plans for Pacioretty. His contract is up at the end of the season, so has George McPhee already began dialogue about an extension now he has his man? And what will the numbers look like? He’s currently earning $4.5 mil per season, and if he can have another big year, maybe he’s due a raise. Time will fell on that one.
Vegas look set to be a contender again this season, and Pacioretty only helps that in an area that maybe they didn’t have that trust in Tatar to provide help in.
It should be another exciting year for the Golden Knights.
Featured image: Minas Panagiotakis