The Vegas Golden Knights wasted no time in getting their newest player signed to a long-term contract extension.
Less than 14 hours after acquiring Max Pacioretty from the Montreal Canadiens late Sunday night, the Golden Knights announced on Monday afternoon that they have signed the winger to a four-year contract extension that will pay him $28 million. That comes out to a salary cap hit of $7 million per season.
That new contract will kick in at the start of the 2019-20 season, meaning that combined with the final year of his current contract (which will pay him $4.5 million this season) the Golden Knights will have Pacioretty under team control for the next five years through his age 34 season.
[Related: Pacioretty saga ends with trade to Vegas]
For Pacioretty, it is obviously a pretty significant raise and nearly doubles his previous annual salary. He has been one of the biggest bargains in the NHL over the past five years, scoring goals at an elite rate while being paid a fraction of what his peers have made.
Living in Nevada as opposed to Montreal will also be a boost to his bottom line.
From the Golden Knights perspective, it is a pretty significant investment financially but they still have plenty of salary cap space (both this season and in the future) and managed to keep the term of the contract to a fairly reasonable four years. Given that Pacioretty is turning 30 this November there would have been a long-term risk to go much longer than that. General manager George McPhee has signed a handful of veteran players to long-term contracts over the past year, but has done a nice job not going too long on the term with any of them. Starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (age 33) received a three-year contract extension over the summer, while veteran center Paul Stastny (age 32) was also signed to a three-year deal in free agency. The longest he has gone on term with any player has been the six-year contract he signed Jonathan Marchessault (age 27) to last season.
With Pacioretty now signed beyond this season, Vegas already has 14 players under contract for the 2019-10 season (including David Clarkson, who will forever be destined for the Long-Term Injured List) for only $56 million against the cap. Under the cap number for this season that would mean more than $23 million in salary cap space. Vegas still has more than $9 million in salary cap space for this upcoming season. All of this means they could still be players for another big score from outside the organization (like, say, a certain defenseman currently playing in Ottawa) if they really wanted to.
Even though Pacioretty is coming off of a down year there are plenty of reasons (which we looked at here) to believe Pacioretty can bounce back and once again be one of the league’s top goal-scorers.