03 October 2018

Squire Report, Vol 13: Year Two

So how does this team follow up such a historic and record-breaking season?  With a very active summer and an outstanding 6-1 record in the preseason!  I can't wait for Year Two to begin, but here's a quick recap of the recent news...


With the departure of James Neal and David Perron via free agency, the Golden Knights were left to fill a void at wing - which precipitated the blockbuster trade that brought Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty to Vegas.  One of the NHL's best wingers of the past decade, Pacioretty has tallied at least 30 goals and 60 points in five of his last six full seasons, while representing the USA in both the Olympics (2014) and World Cup of Hockey (2016).  With their top line already in place, the Knights now add important scoring depth for the second line, where Pacioretty will likely line up next to Paul Stastny, a longtime friend from their days with Team USA.

In order to facilitate the move, GM George McPhee got Pacioretty to agree to a four-year contract extension worth $7 million per season - a deal that helps both sides, with the player getting significant dollars and the team getting a shorter term for cap flexibility.  I think this is an excellent move all around, and really serves to show the rest of the league that last season was no fluke and that the Knights intend to remain Stanley Cup contenders for the immediate future.  But was the cost to acquire Pacioretty too high?

In exchange for the skilled winger, Vegas had to depart with Tomas Tatar and former 1st round pick Nick Suzuki, as well as a 2nd round pick in 2019.  Honestly, Tatar never really did fit in after being brought over at last season's trade deadline, so his departure is certainly acceptable - as long as you don't lament too hard over the draft picks it took to acquire him, and just chalk that up to "sunk cost".  The team could easily part with another one of their surplus of draft picks, but it was tough to see Suzuki go, especially after seeing him up close twice during the OHL playoffs.  He should be a fantastic player down the road for Montreal (he scored a hat trick in his second game back in the OHL), but that's the price of doing business in today's NHL.

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