The hockey community as a whole was quite shocked weeks ago when it was announced that the Vegas Golden Knights had traded Max Pacioretty and Dylan Coghlan to the Carolina Hurricanes for nothing in return other than future considerations. To make matters even worse, some are in the belief the Canes made this deal the way they did simply to embarrass the Golden Knights and their ugly cap mismanagement.
One of those who holds this belief is well-known and controversial player agent Allan Walsh, who Golden Knights fans will remember as the man who tweeted out the infamous picture of Marc-Andre Fleury having a sword go through his back. Recently speaking on the Agent Provocateur Podcast, Walsh explained why he thinks the Hurricanes made the specific move they did.
“There were several other GMs around the league that mentioned to me that they thought the way the trade was structured was intentional on Carolina’s part. That there was a little bit of a message being delivered here,” said Walsh. “Could it have been a seventh-round pick or a sixth-round pick? I think Carolina intentionally said ‘nuh uh, we’ll do this but we’re going to make it future considerations’ because it kind of embarrassed Vegas to have to do that. And in many ways it exposed their cap mismanagement.”
“In reality, I think Carolina was extremely savvy here. I’m sure they knew they were one of the only teams that could take on $7 million in cap space. If Carolina knows they’re the only game in town and Vegas, from cap mismanagement, now has no choice but to trade $7 million and still leaves them a couple million over the cap, why would any team give up a first-round pick or a top prospect? So Carolina probably just sat there and said we’ll take the contract but you’re going to give him to us for free.”
While it should be noted that Walsh doesn’t have the best relationship with the Golden Knights management group due to how things played out with Fleury, he isn’t wrong in what he is saying. General manager Kelly McCrimmon has made several puzzling decisions during his three years in the position, while showing zero loyalty to any of his players. Trading Pacioretty for nothing other than cap space isn’t the first embarrassing move he has made, either.
Last offseason, he was forced to deal Fleury – who was coming off of a Vezina Trophy win – to the Chicago Blackhawks as a cap dump. There was also the Evgenii Dadonov embarrassment from this past trade deadline, as he attempted to trade him to the Anaheim Ducks for cap space not realizing that the player had them as one of the teams on his no trade list.
Perhaps the most infuriating thing for Golden Knights fans in regards to the Pacioretty trade is that the 33-year-old still remains one of the games better offensive producers. With just one season remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $7 million, he holds a ton of value around the league. However, as Walsh alluded to, teams around the league are very aware of the situation the Golden Knights find themselves in cap wise, and until they either find a new general manager or learn to manage their salary better, these embarrassing moves may very well continue to happen.
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