Is Marchessault a better Golden Knights trade target than Pacioretty?

Is Marchessault a better Golden Knights trade target than Pacioretty?
Getty Images

If you believe Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley, the team is not looking to trade Max Pacioretty. Yet, in that interview with a Las Vegas CBS affiliate, even Foley admitted that the Golden Knights need to clear some salary cap space. So, if you’re a team looking to poach a Golden Knights player, here’s a thought: try to trade for Jonathan Marchessault instead of Pacioretty.

Golden Knights respond to Pacioretty trade rumors, but there’s buzz

In speaking with 8 News Now, Foley insisted “we are not shopping Patches.”

TSN’s Frank Seravalli first reported that the Golden Knights might be looking to trade Pacioretty. The Athletic’s Jesse Granger followed up on that report (sub required), noting that Pacioretty’s name has been coming up alongside Jonathan Marchessault and Marc-Andre Fleury.

One source told Granger that the Golden Knights were “aggressively shopping” Pacioretty and Marchessault, which makes sense since … frankly, trading for Fleury is a tough sell.

(Let’s get this out of the way. The Golden Knights would probably need to bribe a team to take Fleury, 36, whose contract carries a $7 million cap hit for two more seasons [through 2021-22].)

While Foley denied the Golden Knights’ interest in trading Pacioretty, it’s possible he meant that Vegas also isn’t trying to move a prominent player like Fleury or Marchessault, either. That’s because, technically, the Golden Knights don’t need to move that much money.

Via Cap Friendly, the Golden Knights currently have $82.47M in cap obligations (roster size of 21 players). So, they’re only above the $81.5M salary cap by about $1M.

If you’re a rebuilding team, would you mind taking a depth draft pick to absorb, say, Tomas Nosek ($1.25M)? As Granger notes, the Golden Knights could also squeeze under the cap by waiving Nick Holden, or even Fleury.

So, really, the Golden Knights don’t really need to trade Pacioretty or Marchessault. Considering the investment they just made in Alex Pietrangelo, do you really want to weaken the team? Especially after having to give up Nate Schmidt and Paul Stastny for little more than breathing room?

Let’s push past the Golden Knights’ side of trading Pacioretty or Marchessault for the time being, though. If you were a team looking to improve, would you be better off trading for Marchessault or Pacioretty?

Marchessault Schmidt Pacioretty Golden Knights trade rumors
(Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

The argument for trading for Golden Knights’ Marchessault over Pacioretty

  • Jonathan Marchessault is cheaper than Max Pacioretty.

Marchessault carries a cap hit of $5 million for four more seasons (through 2023-24). Meanwhile, Pacioretty presents a $7M cap hit through 2022-23.

Considering COVID context, both forwards cost less money toward the end of their deals. For two seasons, Marchessault costs $5M in actual salary, but then that drops to just $3.5M in 2022-23 and 2023-24. Pacioretty earns $7M in 2020-21, then a more affordable $5.25M in 2021-22 and 2022-23.

So, neither player gives a team immediate relief from a cap hit vs. salary perspective, but both do down the road. (Interestingly, salary bonuses aren’t much of a factor with either player.)

  • Marchessault is younger than Pacioretty, and thus brings lesser risks.

To the Golden Knights’ credit, they didn’t give Pacioretty — an aging forward with the sort of injury history that earns the nickname “Wolverine” — an outright gargantuan contract. But it’s still not totally worry-free.

Remember how wobbly the Golden Knights’ investment in Pacioretty looked after 2019-20?

At 32, the bottom could fall out for Pacioretty. While Marchessault could also tussle with Father Time, it’s less of a worry, being that he’s 29.

(Granted, it’s fairer to say that Pacioretty is two-years-and-change older than Marchessault. The point still stands.)

The value perspective

  • Marchessault may not be far behind Pacioretty from an on-ice impact.

Yes, it’s true that the Marchessault – William KarlssonReilly Smith line no longer drives the Golden Knights’ bus the way it once did. But Marchessault measures up reasonably well to Pacioretty based on Evolving Hockey’s RAPM multi-season charts:

Pacioretty Marchessault RAPM trade rumors Evolving Hockey
RAPM comparison via Evolving Hockey

Their isolated impacts at Hockey Viz also point to Marchessault providing similar value to Pacioretty.

  • You might not need to give up as much in a Marchessault trade.

Now, it’s true that Pacioretty’s stock is higher than Marchessault’s, particularly after the 2019-20 season. Marchessault scored 22 goals and 47 points in 66 games, while Pacioretty reached 32 goals and 66 points in just 71 contests. “Patches” looked downright resurgent alongside Mark Stone.

But such movement in perception could really drive up Pacioretty’s asking price. In trading for Marchessault, a team could get a younger, cheaper player than Pacioretty, and maybe give up less in return.

[More Golden Knights trade fodder: teams that should target Pacioretty]

Smaller trade(s) would likely benefit Golden Knights the most

Look, it makes sense for the Golden Knights to at least do some window-shopping when it comes to the idea of trading Marchessault or Pacioretty. There’s value in knowing what’s out there. Even if that translates to planting seeds for a trade when it makes more sense in the future.

But, really, their best move is likely to trade neither Marchessault nor Pacioretty.

(Fleury? Now that would be a good idea, but that’s easier said than done.)

Even though they’re getting ready for merely their fourth season in the NHL, the Golden Knights are in win-now mode. They’re most likely to win big with both Pacioretty and Marchessault in the mix.

Still, it’s interesting to bat around different scenarios. What would you do if you were running the Golden Knights?

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Scroll Down For:

    Hughes has first NHL hat trick, Devils beat Capitals 5-1

    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    NEWARK, N.J. – Jack Hughes had his first career NHL hat trick, Vitek Vanecek made 38 saves against his former team and the New Jersey Devils beat the Washington Capitals 5-1 on Saturday for coach Lindy Ruff’s 800th victory.

    “It’s exciting,” Hughes said. “Couple of two-goal games in my career, so nice to cap it off with the third one tonight.”

    Ruff became the fifth NHL coach to reach the 800-victory mark. The former Buffalo player won 571 games with the Sabres from 1997-2011. He had 165 wins in five seasons with Dallas and has 64 in two-plus seasons with New Jersey.

    “It means I’ve been around a long time,” Ruff cracked. “Great to win the game. Again, you got to do a lot of right things, have good teams, and the way our team is playing I have to give them a lot of credit for getting me there.”

    The Atlantic Division-leading Devils have won two in a row after seeing their franchise-record 13-game winning streak snapped by Toronto.

    Devils captain Nico Hischier and Fabian Zetterlund also scored.

    John Carlson scored for Washington and Charlie Lindgren made 24 saves.

    “Not scoring goals, not capitalizing on our chances,” Carlson said. “We’ve had our chances, especially today, but we only walked away with one goal. We could have had five or six. It’s just not going in right now.”

    Vanecek, meanwhile, was hoping for the shutout against a familiar foe.

    “That would have been nice, but that’s hockey,” Vanecek said, “For sure you’re trying, but not every time; the win is more important.”

    Hischier opened up the scoring with his 10th goal of the season midway through the first period on a power play after Alexander Ovechkin was called for slashing.

    Hughes wrapped the puck around goalie Lindgren’s right leg and the goal post to put the Devils up 2-0 5:59 into the second period. Hughes appeared to have lost his angle on the goal when he ripped a shot off Lindgren’s face mask and into the net midway through the period for his 10th goal of the season to give New Jersey a 3-0 lead.

    The 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick added his third midway through the third period as hats rained down on the ice with New Jersey up 4-0.

    “You want to continue to play the right way, but if an opportunity comes you want to definitely put it in the back of the net with authority,” Hughes said. “So tonight, I was able to cap it off and it was nice.”

    Fabian Zetterlund capped the scoring for New Jersey late in the third period.

    NOTES: The Devils improved to 16-0-0 this season when Hischier has a point. New Jersey’s Nathan Bastain (upper body) did not return after the first period. . Ovechkin is still nine goals away from 800 and 11 from passing Gordie Howe for second place on the NHL goals list.

    UP NEXT

    Capitals: At Vancouver.

    Devils: At the New York Rangers.

    Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
    2 Comments

    BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

    The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

    “That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

    Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

    “It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

    In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

    “It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

    In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

    “We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

    Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

    Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

    Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

    Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

    Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

    TAKE NOTE

    The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

    UP NEXT

    Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

    Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
    1 Comment

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

    Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

    The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

    Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

    “We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

    Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

    The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

    The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

    Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

    Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

    The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

    Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.