NHL Rumor Mill – December 10, 2020
Reaction to reports of the Golden Knights shopping Max Pacioretty in today’s NHL rumor mill.
NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz took note of TSN’s reporting the Vegas Golden Knights could consider trading Max Pacioretty. He points out only seven teams – “Florida, Columbus, Detroit, Ottawa, Nashville, Los Angeles, and New Jersey” – have sufficient salary-cap space to absorb the winger’s $7 million annual cap hit.
Gretz scratched the Blue Jackets from that list because re-signing Pierre-Luc Dubois will take up most of their $9.2 million cap space. Ottawa, Detroit and Los Angeles are rebuilding and probably unwilling to take on an expensive 32-year-old forward.
The Predators could be the best fit because they need a finisher. The Devils need a scoring winger alongside centers Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. The Panthers need someone to replace departed winger Mike Hoffman.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty suggests the Bruins should take a run at Pacioretty. It could cost them winger Jake DeBrusk and perhaps defense prospect Urho Vaakanainen but Haggerty feels it would be a fair price for a big, skilled second-line scorer.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports multiple sources are claiming the Penguins are among the clubs expressing interest in Pacioretty, with one saying general manager Jim Rutherford circled back on Wednesday and is awaiting a response. Kingerski considered the talks exploratory.
THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger reports his sources said Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon is simply testing the trade market regarding the value of Pacioretty, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and winger Jonathan Marchessault following a period without much player movement around the league.
Granger acknowledged the Golden Knights must become cap compliant before the season begins but believes they would be making a mistake trading Pacioretty. The club is built to win now and trading their leading goal scorer wouldn’t put them closer to the Stanley Cup. He also indicates the trade market isn’t strong right now, making it difficult to move high-salaried players like Pacioretty.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: ESPN.com’s Greg Wyshynski tweeted a report out of Las Vegas in which Golden Knights owner claimed his club is “not shopping Patches.” He admits they have cap issues that must be addressed before the season begins but moving Pacioretty isn’t among the options.
Granger believes McCrimmon could be looking at available options if he goes the trade route to shed salary. While they could easily get under the cap by demoting a player, McCrimmon could also be looking at freeing up enough salary to target a UFA forward like Mike Hoffman or former Golden Knights center Erik Haula.
I said yesterday that Pacioretty’s age, $7 million AAV and 10-team no-trade clause makes it difficult to move him given the current economic situation. Fleury ($7 million AAV, 10-team no-trade) and Marchessault ($5 million AAV, eight-team NTC) would also be tough to trade. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but the sticking points are significant.
The Bruins can’t afford Pacioretty’s salary. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $2.9 million in cap space. Moving DeBrusk’s $3.675 million won’t free up enough for the veteran winger. Yes, they could get some short-term cap relief by placing Brad Marchand or David Pastrnak on LTIR, but both could return to the lineup by February, forcing the Bruins to shed salary. Besides, I think their focus is on shoring up the left side of their blueline.
With just $1.3 million in cap space, the Penguins have less money to work with than the Bruins. Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford has a well-earned reputation for wheeling-and-dealing but I don’t see how he can pull off acquiring Pacioretty.
If McCrimmon doesn’t shop one of his expensive players, The Score’s Josh Wegman suggested perhaps moving a couple of depth players such as “Tomas Nosek ($1.25 million AAV), William Carrier ($1.4 million), Nick Holden ($1.7 million) and Ryan Reaves ($1.75 million). It could come to that if demoting a lower-salaried player doesn’t free up sufficient wiggle room under the cap.