On the opening day of free agency, the Vegas Golden Knights made a shocking move, sending both Max Pacioretty and Dylan Coghlan to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for future considerations.
While the move was necessary to become cap compliant, most figured that if Pacioretty were indeed moved, there would be a solid return coming back. After all, the 33-year-old has just one season remaining on his deal with a $7 million cap hit and remains very productive when healthy. Nonetheless, he has now moved on to the Canes and finishes his Golden Knights tenure in what was a very disappointing season for the team. He spoke about that yesterday in a virtual introductory press conference with his new club.
“It was just a weird year where it seemed like everything went wrong,” Pacioretty said. “And my injuries were really one-offs of bad luck: broken foot, another bone injury in my hand, and then a little bit of a core situation there, but that didn’t keep me out too long. So I hope that’s in my past. I’m doing everything I can to move on from that. But in reality, as a group, we had a lot of tough luck last year on the injury front and a lot of kind of goofy or fluky injuries, and mine were no different from the rest of the guys in that sense.”
Pacioretty certainly isn’t wrong to suggest the Golden Knights had bad luck last season. After all, they entered 2021-22 as serious Stanley Cup contenders, only to miss the playoffs entirely in large part due to injury. He himself missed over half the season, while several of his teammates in Mark Stone, Reilly Smith, William Karlsson, Jack Eichel and many others missed significant time throughout the year.
The 2022-23 season should be a much improved one for the Golden Knights, should they manage to stay healthy. That said, not having Pacioretty – who not only recorded 37 points in 39 games this past season but led the team in scoring in 2020-21 with 24 goals – will undoubtedly put more pressure on some of this teams’ other top offensive guns to be at their best.
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