Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018 | 11:02 p.m.
The Golden Knights have acquired Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty in exchange for Tomas Tatar, Nick Suzuki and a 2019 second-round draft pick.
Pacioretty, 29, recorded 17 goals and 20 assists last season on a struggling Canadiens team. The winger has 226 goals and 222 assists in his 10 seasons with Montreal, and has been the subject of trade rumors all summer due to his contract expiring after next season.
In Las Vegas, Pacioretty will likely play alongside Alex Tuch and Paul Stastny on the Golden Knights’ second line this season. It would add speed and high-end scoring to the line and allow Erik Haula to center the third line.
General manager George McPhee told the Golden Knights’ Insider Show on Fox Sports 1340 AM he thought Vegas had one of the worst second lines in the league last year. With the departure of James Neal and David Perron, and the additions of Stastny and Pacioretty he has addressed that concern.
The trade also brings an end to Tatar’s brief career in Vegas. McPhee acquired the 27-year-old from Detroit at the trade deadline of last season in exchange for a first, second and third-round pick. But Tatar never seemed to mesh with the Golden Knights, and struggled to only four goals in 20 games with the team and was a healthy scratch for much of the postseason.
Suzuki, 19, was chosen 13th overall by the Golden Knights in the 2018 draft and is one of the organization’s top prospects. He played for Vegas in the Rookie Faceoff scrimmage Sunday night at City National Arena just minutes before the trade was announced.
The trade provides Vegas with an exceptional shooter that can replace the scoring void left by Neal and Perron. Only Alex Ovechkin (175) and John Tavares (153) have more even strength goals than Pacioretty (152) since the 2011-12 season.
Pacioretty captained the Canadiens for years and is known for his high character. It’s a lot to give up in the trade, so Vegas must sign him to a long term deal.