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Islanders: Vegas Golden Knights Max Pacioretty is perfect trade target

Max Pacioretty #67 of the Vegas Golden Knights (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Max Pacioretty #67 of the Vegas Golden Knights (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Max Pacioretty is said to be on the trade block. He’s the perfect player for what the New York Islanders need to win it all.

The one thing the New York Islanders need is goal scoring. With 412 goals scored over the last two seasons, the Isles have the 25th ranked offense in the NHL. They don’t create or score enough goals to truly make them a contender, even if they made their way to the Eastern Conference Finals last season.

Adding a consistent 30 goal scorer would be exactly what the New York Islanders need. Turns out one might be available in Max Pacioretty. The Vegas Golden Knights forward is said to be on the trade block with the Knights desperate to create enough cap space to fall below the cap ceiling.

The former Montreal Canadiens captain would be the perfect fit for the Isles.

On Paper Fit

I wanted to start with the on-ice fit. Pacioretty has only one sub-30 goal season since 2011-12. His 275 goals since 11-12 rank him eleventh in the league.

Just last season, Pacioretty scored 32 goals and 66 points in 72 games. He was on pace for a career year 76 point season had it not been cut short due to the pandemic. On the power play, Pacioretty has 51 goals and 49 helpers (100 points) since 2013-14.

Pacioretty is also a volume shooter. In 72 games last year he had 307 shots on goal. Only Nathan MacKinnon and Alex Ovechkin put more puck on net than Pacioretty.

His ability to generate offense is incredible. This year at 5on5 he’s ninth in the NHL for rebounds created, sixth for individual high-danger chances-for, and third for individual scoring chances-for. (All stats from Natural Stat Trick.)

Again, Pacioretty would be perfect for the Isles.

But, because we’re talking about the Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz Islanders we have to know how Pacioretty does at playing defense. Thankfully, back in 2017, he answered that question while he was the captain for the Montreal Canadiens:

"I’ve played a bunch of different roles this year. When Alex Galchenyuk and Alexander Radulov were really feeling it, and they were the offensive guys, I played more of a defensive role — and I’m willing to accept that. I’m willing to go out for a lot of draws in our own end and go against top guys.Stats are something that everyone looks at, but we don’t have egos on this team, myself included. If we’re expected to play a role or hone in on playing some good defense, we’re willing to do that."

What About the Cap?

While the Golden Knights are over the cap ceiling, the New York Islanders aren’t far away. How are they going to possibly add someone like Max Pacioretty who carries a $7 million cap hit over the next three seasons and still have room for Mathew Barzal? It would certainly be difficult but not impossible.

Using Cap Friendly’s Armchair GM feature, here’s how I did it:

  • Barzal signs a three year $21 million deal ($7 million AAV)
  • Matt Martin is signed for $1 million (1-year deal)
  • Andy Greene is signed for $1.25 million (1-year deal)
  • Johnny Boychuk and Andrew Ladd on LTIR
  • Leo Komarov, Michael Dal Colle, and Thomas Hickey are sent to the AHL
  • Sebastian Aho and Oliver Wahlstrom called up to NHL

With all those moves and with Max Pacioretty’s $7 million AAV on the books, the Islanders still have $386,666 in cap space. Here’s what my lineup looks like:

Forwards

Pacioretty-Barzal-Eberle
Lee-Nelson-Bailey
Beauvillier-Pageau-Wahlstrom
Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck
Scratched: Johnston

Defense

Pelech-Pulock
Leddy-Mayfield
Greene-Dobson
Scratched: Aho

Goalies

Semyon Varlamov
Ilya Sorokin

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Next. Isles Top 25 Under 25

The Islanders could fit Max Pacioretty on this roster. What it takes to make the trade is still a heated debate. Clearly, the Knights don’t want to add any cap commitments, so taking picks and prospects to free up that cap space would be beneficial to them.

Luckily, the Isles just picked up two second-round picks a few months back. Could a package where both of Colorado’s seconds and a prospect be enough to tempt them? I think so.

Adding Max Pacioretty would give the Islanders exactly what they need to compete for a cup and would certainly vault them into contender status overnight.

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