Late last night, Montreal announced that they had traded captain and star left wing Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Columbus’ 2nd round pick in 2019, C Nick Suzuki, and F Tomas Tatar.
Today, Vegas announced that it has extended Pacioretty from his bargain $4.5 million per season contract to a 4 year deal worth $7 million per year.
While there has been no consensus within the reaction to all of this, it is ultimately quite a good deal for both sides.
From Vegas’ Perspective:
The Golden Misfits were three wins away from winning the Stanley Cup, after producing one of the most dominant seasons in modern NHL history. That being said, most would agree that Vegas was expected to regress (at least in some degree) this year.
With this in mind, GM George McPhee has done a lot to combat that problem by bringing in C Paul Stastny and now acquiring Pacioretty.
Vegas now boasts an offense of:
Jon Marchessault, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith
Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny, Alex Tuch
Erik Haula, Cody Eakin, Tomas Nosek
William Carrier, Pierre-Edouard Bellmare, Ryan Reaves*
*combinations created from leftwinglock.com
That combo is pretty formidable and has a lot of strength in all areas. Pacioretty (away from the pressure in Montreal) will probably thrive, especially if he develops any chemistry with great distributors like Stastny, Haula, or Karlsson. He also brings more leadership and a sturdy frame to what is shaping up to be a tough Pacific Division show down.
On one hand, that extension is a bit of a risk since it assumes that Pacioretty (who turns 30 in November) will still be at that level in 5 years. On the other, Pacioretty has scored at least 30 goals in 5 out of the last 7 years.
From the Canadiens’ Perspective:
For the purpose of this article, I’m setting aside anything GM Marc Bergevin has done in the past with regards to trading star players. But in this deal, he did fairly well. Solid B+ level move.
I personally would have asked Vegas to throw in a 3rd or 4th rounder if they extended Pacioretty, but maybe that couldn’t be done.
Regardless, Montreal did fairly well under the circumstances. Pacioretty was in a contract year and his value was low. Given how Pacioretty and his agent were heavily displeased with the Canadiens, I didn’t see him rebounding before the deadline. At least, not to the point where it made a huge difference in his value. Pacioretty was also certainly not re-signing in Montreal, so the Canadians sold as high as they could.
Tatar (who turns 28 this season) has scored 19+ goals in each of the last five seasons. He’s always good for 40-50 points and should be a welcomed addition to Montreal’s top 6. Tatar is also under contract for the next 3 seasons. Depending on how he does, the Habs can choose to keep him or let him go. He is the perfect player to produce now, which allows the Canadiens to be conservative in allowing younger players to develop.
I’ve always been high on him and I even had him as a top 11 pick in 2017 (he fell to 13th in the 2017 draft). He’s a center with star potential and should make a terrific 2c. While OHL numbers don’t always translate, there’s something to be said for his 196 points over his last two seasons with Owen Sound Attack. His addition also potentially gives Montreal a nice 1-2-3 punch at center for the next 10+ years of Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Suzuki, and Ryan Poehling.
Columbus’ 2nd round pick in 2019:
Scouts have said that 2019 is going to be a deep draft, so hoarding as many picks as possible should help the club. Because the Habs acquired Columbus’ pick, it is a bit of wild card. I believe that Columbus center Pierre-Luc DuBois will take huge steps forward and might produce up to 60-70 points. However, the team’s situation with Artemi Panarin is unresolved and the Jackets need to decide if they are retooling or staying the course. At worst, Montreal is probably picking somewhere in the low to mid 50’s. At best, in the low 40’s. Looking at the draft history, there is always talent in that range, so if Montreal can cash in, this pick could go a long way.
Montreal got a valuable center in this deal and added to their depth. I’d say this deal makes Montreal’s future brighter as Jonathan Drouin, Ryan Poehling, Nick Suzuki, Max Domi, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Noah Juulsen, Victor Mete, and Philip Daneault look to be a decent future core. This deal could end up adding to the renaissance for the Bleu, Blanc, & Rouge.