At about 1am in the morning, most people are either asleep or just getting to. That wasn’t the case for Marc Bergevin, who at just after 1am on Monday morning traded captain Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Tomas Tatar, prospect Nick Suzuki and a 2nd round pick in the 2019 NHL entry draft.
Is it bad that whenever I hear the words “Montreal made a trade” I automatically think that they lost the trade. That’s just based on recent history, not because i’m a die hard Leafs fan. It doesn’t help though.
To my surprise, Montreal didn’t completely lose this trade. Tatar is a pretty solid bet for 20 goals a season and is under contract for another 3 years. He’s a speedy winger who can score, and Montreal needs players who can score.
Nick Suzuki is also a very talented prospect who is projected to be a 2nd line centre in the NHL one day. Montreal in very thin down the centre, so picking up this player makes complete sense for the Canadiens. He scored 100 points in 64 games for the Owen Sound Attack last season to show he does have a lot of offensive upside to his game. Once again, the Canadiens are acquiring assests that have the ability to be solid offensive players.
However, they also had to give up a really good offensive player in Max Pacioretty. Lets be honest, he had a bad season last year, but he is a premier sniper who when healthy and put in the right situations should be a safe bet for at least 30 goals a season. Vegas then linked him to a 4 year contract extension worth 7 million per season, which will keep him in Vegas until the 2022-2023 season. Pacioretty will be 34 years old when the contract expires, but i don’t think the Golden Knights see that being a huge problem as long as he can still be a 20 goal scorer by the end of his contract.
There are two main reason as to why I believe the Canadiens won this trade. First off, they were forced into a situation where they had to trade Pacioretty. Team president Geoff Molson stated that Max had requested a trade out of Montreal (Which is something we have all kind of known for months now). At any time when a player requests a trade, it becomes more difficult for their organization to get a fair return in the deal. The Canadiens traded their 29 year old captain and got back a scoring winger who should put up at least 20 goals, a B Level prospect that plays a position they are extremely weak in, and a 2nd round draft pick which will be up to them to turn into an effective NHL player.
The second reason is because the Golden Knights made a big mistake this summer and had to make this trade to fix it. Vegas tried to re-sign James Neal before he became a UFA but couldn’t, so he left for Calgary and signed a 5 year contract worth 5.75 million per season. That’s over a million dollars less per season for someone who in my opinion isn’t that far off from Pacioretty. I do believe that Max is an upgrade over James Neal, but when you factor in that they maybe could have given James Neal 6 million per season to stay in Vegas (still a million less per season than Max Pacioretty), and keep Tatar and Nick Suzuki in the organization, it starts to look a little worse. I believe the Golden Knights would be happier with Neal, Tatar and Suzuki than they would be with just Pacioretty instead.
It seems as if the Golden Knights really wanted to get Pacioretty to help fill the void on the wing left by James Neal. However, they already went out and signed C Stastny to a big contract and now have done the same the Pacioretty after just trading for him, so they should in retrospect be even more dangerous offensively this year.
It wasn’t a terrible trade by any standards for the Vegas Golden Knights. I just think Canadiens fans should feel good about this trade, because I don’t think that with Max requesting a trade out of Montreal that they could have gotten any more for him then what they did. Montreal got a little, but not extremely, worse short term, which is fine, and helped grab a young talented player who plays a position they are extremely hungry for. More second round picks are always nice to have as well.
So relax Habs fans, because for the first time in a while I get to say these 7 words.
The Canadiens didn’t completely lose this trade (enter thoughts of Subban, and Sergachev, and Galchenyuk…)