After three successful seasons in the NHL, the Vegas Golden Knights have officially run out of salary cap space. Rumors swirled on Twitter and other social media platforms as Frank Seravalli of TSN reported that the Golden Knights are trying to trade some of their bigger contracts to get under the salary cap ceiling. A Max Pacioretty trade would certainly help the Golden Knights do this.
Why a Pacioretty Trade Makes Sense for the Bruins
Boston lacked depth scoring during the 2019-20 season so the addition of Pacioretty would massively improve the team for next season. This is why the Bruins making a Max Pacioretty trade would be an amazing idea.
If Boston can make a Max Pacioretty trade work then the Bruins would instantly upgrade their forward group. Acquiring the consistent thirty-goal scorer would be the perfect complement to the Bruins’ second line. Playing alongside the crafty David Krejci and the speedy Jake Debrusk would create one of the most formidable lines in all of hockey. During the 2019-20 season, Pacioretty was on pace for a career year with Vegas. With his new linemates, the Bruins should expect similar production if not an improvement.
Also, the Bruins missing two of their best goal scorers for the first part of the 2020-21 season they will definitely be lacking goal scoring. If the Bruins can land Pacioretty in a trade he will be able to replace some of the lost production from the injuries to Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.
The Golden Knights would also have to give up a 2nd round pick in a Pacioretty trade. The reason behind the Bruins also acquiring a 2nd round pick is because Pacioretty has a daily large contract that Vegas needs to move. Yes, the Golden Knights are giving up the best player and the only draft pick in the trade but Vegas needs overpay to move Pacioretty’s contract.
Overall the Bruins take advantage of their strong part of their team and use it to improve their weakness of depth scoring. When Pastrnak and Marchand return the Bruins will have two of the deadliest forward lines in all of the NHL.
Pacioretty Trade for Moore and Kase Would Improve Golden Knights’ Defense
The Golden Knights have some superstar defensemen such as Shea Theodore and recently signed Alex Pietrangelo but they lack defensive depth. The Boston Bruins have lots of really good NHL caliber defensemen, but they don’t play nearly enough for the Bruins as Boston has one of the best if not the best defensive cores in the league.
Since the Bruins have lots of strong defenders and Las Vegas lacks NHL caliber defenders the Golden Knights will get a serviceable defenseman in John Moore. Moore would instantly improve the Golden Knights defensive core. The 30-year-old defensemen only played in twenty-four games for the Boston Bruins last season. In his twenty-four games, he only scored one goal and added two assists. The offense aspect of hockey clearly isn’t the best part of his game but he is a very solid defender as stops lots of opponent’s chances and doesn’t make costly mistakes in the defensive zone.
The other player the Vegas Golden Knights would acquire in the Pacioretty trade would be Ondrej Kase. He could replace Pacioretty on the second line for the Golden Knights. Kase didn’t play much for the Bruins as he was acquired at the 2020 trade deadline
During his short time with the Bruins, Kase was only able to get into six regular-season games due to injuries and the Covid-19 shutdown. In the six regular-season games for Boston, he only got one assist. In the playoffs, he was able to get in eleven games and was actually a productive player. During the playoffs, Kase got four total assists.
While Kase is not quite the same caliber as Pacioretty he can definitely play a similar role for the Golden Knights and he will come at a much cheaper price as Kase makes only 2.6 million dollars for the upcoming season.
After the trade, the Golden Knights get closer to their ultimate goal in trading Pacioretty. They will create more cap space to work with while improving their defensive core and acquiring a replacement for Pacioretty. Overall Las Vegas will still have a very strong forward core and the improved defense should do wonders for the team.
Salary cap implications after Pacioretty trade
Since the Golden Knights need to trade out Pacioretty’s contract to get under the salary cap they will need to acquire less total than Pacioretty’s contract is currently worth. For the next three seasons, Pacioretty will be making seven million dollars. Moving out the Seven million dollar cap hit will definitely help the Golden Knights cap situation. With the return of Kase and Moore, the Golden Knights will be bringing back about five and a half million dollars. This brings Vegas one and half million dollars closer to their goal of getting under the salary cap.
On the Bruins side of things, CapFriendly currently has the Bruins with about three million dollars of available cap space to be spent. After the Pacioretty trade, the Bruins would be left with about one and a half million dollars of available cap space for future transactions.
Who wins the trade?
While the Bruins definitely win this trade for Pacioretty at first glance, the Golden Knights actually do benefit from the trade as well. The Golden Knights gave up the most valuable pieces in the trade but they accomplished what they want to in the trade. Clearing cap space, improving defense, and acquiring a replacement for Pacioretty is exactly what Las Vegas needs in a trade.
The Bruins also benefit from the trade as they massively improve their depth scoring with the acquisitions of Pacioretty. Their second transforms into perhaps the best second line in the entire league. If the Bruins are able to swing a Pacioretty trade then they will have one of the best if not the best top two forwards lines in the entire league.
Since both teams benefit from the Pacioretty trade, I don’t think this trade has a winner. Both accomplished exactly what they wanted to do and hopefully, this trade can help both teams become more successful in the future.
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