Analyzing the Pacioretty Trade and Signing

Riley Radiuk / September 11th, 2018

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(Photo courtesy here after hard return)

After requesting a trade last season, Max Pacioretty has been traded to the Vegas Golden Knights. The Habs shipped off their former captain for 2017 1st round pick Nick Suzuki, Thomas Tatar, and a 2019 2nd round pick. Although it wasn’t reported that Pacioretty asked for a trade until it happened, with Pacioretty going into the last year of his contract on a team that clearly isn’t contending, it’s no surprise to see Pacioretty get moved.

“Both parties agreed the best thing was for him to move on.” – Canadians GM Marc Bergevin stated to media following the trade.

As far as the actual value of the trade, fans seem to be split on the decision. Canadians GM, Marc Bergevin, doesn’t have a good track record of trades in the past few years, most notably trading away superstar defenseman PK Subban, top prospect Mikhail Sergachev, as well as  promising center Alex Galchenyuk, so although this is a better trade compared to Bergevin’s recent moves. What makes the other fans not like the deal is the lack of return for the 5 time 30 goal scorer. Another argument that could be made is they would have been able to get more for Pacioretty at the deadline instead of before the season, but nonetheless, the trade has happened.

A day after being traded to the Golden Knights, Pacioretty and his new team agreed on a contract extension worth $28 million over 4 years. In order to take a deeper look into the contract, we will compare it to a comparable players contract in James Van Riemsdyk (JVR). Both players are 29 years old, they were both drafted in the first round of the 2007 draft, have comparable points throughout their careers, and most importantly, they’re both signed to contracts worth $7 million annually. Although Pacioretty’s numbers have been consistently higher over the years, in the past three years Pacioretty has been on a steep goal decline while JVR’s has increased, making them close enough comparables. Looking at the numbers at first glance it seems that JVR is on the better deal due to his numbers from the last three years looking significantly better than Pacioretty’s, however that may not completely be the case. Yes, this past season looks horrid on Pacioretty’s career stats, but looking back at the year before Pacioretty tied his career high for points, on a very underwhelming Montreal team. A bounce back year for the former Habs captain isn’t guaranteed, however, it’s a pretty safe thing to bet your money on, especially if he gets the opportunity to play on Vegas’ first line. His two way play being far superior to JVR’s is also a huge boost to his contract value.

All in all, it’s easy to say that JVR has the better contract due to not having such an intense drop in stats like Pacioretty, but when taken into consideration the roles they play, the teams they play on, how management used them, as well as how they are shaped to perform in the coming years, Pacioretty’s and JVR contract values are a lot closer than most fans. Arguments can be made for both players as to which one is more worth their money.