Latest NHL Buzz: Fallout of the Max Pacioretty trade

The Max Pacioretty saga was only heading towards one direction, a trade, and the Montreal Canadiens sent their captain packing Monday morning in trading Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights.

In return for Pacioretty, Montreal acquired forward Tomas Tatar, prospect Nick Suzuki, and a 2nd round pick in 2019 from the Vegas Golden Knights (Columbus’ pick previously acquired by Vegas).

Tatar who carries a $5.3 million cap hit through the 2020-2021 season, was a total disaster in Vegas, struggling mightily in the Knights fast-paced system. In Claude Julien’s slower paced system, Tatar may bring some value to a Canadiens team depleted at center.

The key to the deal for Montreal is clearly Nick Suzuki, the 13th overall pick in 2017. He’s a versatile forward that can play all three positions and scouts think his ceiling will be 20 goal, 50 point player who can play anywhere in a lineup because of his versatility and how well he thinks the game.

With Pacioretty coming off a bad luck season and to maximize his value he had to be moved to a team he would agree to an extension with, the Canadiens did okay here after putting themselves in the position of alienating Pacioretty over the last year in getting a prospect of Suzuki’s caliber.

To fully evaluate this deal for Vegas, it was going to come down to what the extension looks like.

The numbers are now in with Pacioretty agreeing to a 4 year, $28 million extension on Monday afternoon.

That’s a really good term for Vegas where they get Pacioretty this season at a $4.050 million cap hit and are only paying for years 31-34 when the next extension kicks in.

Vegas with the trade/extension for Pacioretty also keep Pacioretty out of the division. Montreal had agreed to a trade with the Los Angeles Kings at the June NHL draft that would have sent Pacioretty to LA but the 29 year old turned down an 8 year, $48 million extension his former agency had negotiated.

San Jose had also pursued Pacioretty after losing out on John Tavares.

The knock on Vegas from some corners is going to be that their surprise inaugural season has seen them mortgage the future since last years deadline by trading a first round pick, two-second round picks, third round pick and the 13th overall pick in the 2017 draft combined in separate trades for Tatar and now Pacioretty.

However, Vegas is in good position to remain a contender for the next little while in what was a down Pacific Division last year.

They can continue to operate as aggressive trade suitors with their cap space for this season and next season as they have over $23 million in cap space for the 2019-2020 season and that’s if the cap held flat, which it likely won’t.

As for mortgaging their future. Vegas still owns a first, second and three-3rd round picks for the 2019 draft in rounds 1-3.

For the 2020 draft they currently own a first, three-2nd round picks and a third round pick in rounds 1-3.


— We’re the Penguins a player for Pacioretty at any point this summer?

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— Industry buzz is rival General Manager’s believe Artemi Panarin is locked into signing with the New York Rangers next summer as a free agent to the extent that LeBron James was set on signing with the Lakers a year in advance.

The Blue Jackets brass is also not in the dark on this.

They know Panarin fully intends to sign with the Rangers and the Rangers amped with a ton of cap space next summer, seem perfectly fine to just wait for it to happen then go try to trade for Panarin now.

“He’s going to be a Ranger [In 2019] just like LeBron was always going to sign with the Lakers,” one NHL source said. “There’s nothing Columbus or anyone else can do about it,” the source added. “It’s going to happen.”

Despite this consensus around the league, if the Blue Jackets take a step back and go into sell mode, any top Stanley Cup contender with cap space should be all over Panarin as a rental.

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