The sky is falling on the SAP Center. The San Jose Sharks keep missing out on their preferred targets… Ok…Deep breaths guys. This trade may be great for Vegas, but that doesn’t mean the same is true for San Jose.
On the surface, this is another missed opportunity for the San Jose Sharks to acquire another star player. Max Pacioretty is a perennial 30 goal scorer and 60 point player. To lose him to what is beginning to be the Sharks main rival in the Pacific Division hurts. A lot.
And in case you’ve been living under an NHL rock for the past day or so, the Montreal Canadians have traded Max Pacioretty for Tomas Tartar, (a guy which Vegas paid a pretty penny for only to be scratched during the playoffs) a second round pick, and big time prospect Nick Suzuki, from the Vegas Golden Knights.
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Suzuki, the thirteenth overall pick in the 2017 draft was a 40 goal scorer and 100 point player for Owen Sound of the OHL last season, and is projected to be a very good NHLer. He had top ten value in the draft, and had already signed an Entry Level Contract with Vegas, which most likely means he will see some
playing time with the Habs this season.
Initially this doesn’t look like much for a player of Pacioretty’s caliber. Again, Patches is a perennial 60 pt player. But when you delve deeper in to this trade, and how it could have played out for the San Jose Sharks, it isn’t necessarily the greatest fit.
Pacioretty is going into the final year of his contract at age 29. And the Sharks would have had to resign him in order to recoup his value if they were to make a deal equivalent to this one.
This is where the trade hits a snag. The San Jose Sharks only have about 4.3 million left in projected cap space for this season, and have several players around the same age as the former Capitaine des Habitants. Pacioretty, just today signed an extension with Vegas for 4 years, 28 Million dollars. Including 10.5 million this season.
If the Sharks are already old enough and this deal would nearly destroy the Sharks salary cap this season and in the long term with Jones, Couture, Vlasic, Kane, Burns and Hertl all locked up for the future.
Plus, what is Max Pacioretty going to look like a few years down the road? Are his stats going to diminish as he ages? People are already skeptical about his skating, and last season was not a good one for him. There were obviously extenuating circumstances from being in Montreal. Or not wanting to be in Montreal. Probably a little bit of both actually as the Habs are about as big a dumpster fire as it gets.
In the short-term, this looks like a deal Doug Wilson and company should have made, but was it really worth mortgaging what little future the San Jose Sharks have left for Max Pacioretty who isn’t a true center, and who’s older than some of their other potential targets like Tyler Seguin, Artemi Panarin and EK65.
Again, if they win the cup, the point is moot, but there is still the future to think about. There are very few players in this league with one year left on their contract who I’d drain the system for. Pacioretty isn’t in that category, granted, still a very very good player, and the Sharks would be loaded with 60 pt skaters, but unfortunately they don’t have a Nick Suzuki in their system.
This speculation is all fine and dandy, but the fact is this: The Pacific Division is even better than it was last year with the additions of Ilya Kovalchuck to LA, Paul Stasny and now Max Pacioretty to Vegas. The Ducks are always contenders, and Connor McDavid won’t let the Oilers be as horrible as they’ve been (not if Peter Chiarelli has anything to do with it).
Competition in the Western Conference will be fierce, as both Winnipeg and Nashville are legit cup contenders. The San Jose Sharks, as they are built currently, are right there with LA and with Anahiem in the Pacific, but they have been and remain one skater away from contending with the Predators, Jets and VGK’s of the world.
A move, and a big one, is going to have to be made soon. Or else the San Jose Sharks could be dead in the water.