The Vegas Golden Knights acquired All-Star forward Max Pacioretty from the Montreal Canadiens late Sunday night in exchange for Tomas Tatar, prospect Nick Suzuki and a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Vegas announced the deal for the 29-year-old Pacioretty, who has played all 626 of his career NHL games with Montreal, for whom he was named a captain in 2015. However, he is entering the final year of a six-year contract and had regularly been tied to trade rumors since last season’s deadline.
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin told reporters Monday that Pacioretty had requested a trade, despite the player and his agent denying last week that they had asked for one.
“That’s a fact, yes,” said Bergevin, who added that Vegas was given permission before the trade to discuss an extension with Pacioretty. “This has been going on for a while.”
Pacioretty is due to earn $4.5 million this season and will be reunited with Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant, who was an assistant for the Canadiens in 2012. Montreal will retain 10 percent of Pacioretty’s contract, according to multiple reports, while Vegas will retain close to 9.5 percent of Tatar’s.
Pacioretty scored between 60-67 points in every season from 2013-14 to 2016-17, but his production dipped to 20 goals and 37 assists in 64 games last season. He had a minus-16 plus-minus ratio, his third consecutive negative season. For his 10-year career, the New Canaan, Conn. native has 226 goals and 222 assists.
Pacioretty also has 10 goals and nine assists in 38 career playoff games. He was originally a first-round pick by Montreal in 2007.
“We’re turning the page,” Canadiens owner Geoff Molson said Monday, per NBC Sports. “That’s nothing against Max. It’s what happens in hockey once and a while. He and I are friends and we spent a lot of time together over the past 10 years and I appreciate and like him very much and I wish him nothing but the best.
“It’s been going on for several months now that we’ve been trying to make this happen. Here we are today, the morning after.
Tatar had 20 goals and 14 assists combined for Vegas and the Detroit Red Wings last season, and was acquired by the Golden Knights before the trade deadline. However, only four of those goals and two assists came in 20 games with Vegas, and Tatar carries a $5.3 million salary cap hit for next season.
Suzuki was the 13th overall pick in the 2017 draft and was considered one of the organization’s top prospects. The deal was announced shortly after he participated in a rookie game for the Golden Knights. Suzuki finished fourth in the Ontario Hockey League with 100 points last season, recording 42 goals and 58 assists.
“It’s something we really had to have,” Bergevin said of Suzuki being included in the deal. “He’s a cerebral player, he thinks the game well. He’s got a skill set that made him the 13th pick overall.”
—Field Level Media