Is Marchessault a better Golden Knights trade target than Pacioretty?

Is Marchessault a better Golden Knights trade target than Pacioretty?
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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 or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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    Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews returns to ice, hints at retirement

    Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

    CHICAGO — Longtime Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews returned to the ice but hinted his stellar NHL career could be winding down after 15 years.

    Toews, 34, skated with teammates prior to Chicago’s game with the Dallas Stars. It was his first time practicing with them since a game in Edmonton on Jan. 28.

    He made a statement through the team on Feb. 19 saying he would be stepping away because of the effects of Chronic Immune Response Syndrome and “long COVID.”

    In meeting with reporters, Toews stopped short of saying he hoped to play in any of last-place Chicago’s nine remaining games. His eight-year, $84 million contract is set to expire at the end of the season.

    Toews said he’s feeling stronger, but isn’t sure if he’ll be able to play again for the Blackhawks or another team.

    “Both if I’m being fully honest,” Toews said. “I feel like I’ve said it already, that I’ve gotten to the point where my health is more important.

    “When you’re young and you’re playing for a Stanley Cup and everyone’s playing through something, that means something and it’s worthwhile. But I’m at that point where it feels like more damage is being done than is a good thing.”

    Toews, the Blackhawks’ first-round draft pick (third overall) in 2006, joined the team in 2007 and was a pillar of Stanley Cup championship clubs in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

    At the peak of his career, he was one of the NHL’s top two-way centers, winning the Selke Trophy as the league’s top defensive forward in 2013.

    In 1,060 regular-season games, Toews has 371 goals and 509 assists. In 139 playoff games, he’s posted 45 goals and 74 assists, and he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2010.

    Toews missed the entire 2020-21 season with Chronic Immune Response System, which caused debilitating inflammation and fatigue.

    He appeared in 71 games in 2021-22, then started this season with renewed energy before slowing and eventually shutting himself down.

    Entering this season, it looked as if Chicago might deal him, as it did fellow star Patrick Kane, before the March trade deadline. But Kane went to the New York Rangers and Toews to injured reserve.

    Toews believed he was progressing before a relapse in January left him so sore and tired that he could barely “put on my skates or roll out of bed to come to the rink.”

    Toews said his progress over the past month has been “pretty encouraging” and he’s delighted to be back among his teammates. He has no timetable beyond that.

    “We’re just going to go day by day here,” Chicago coach Luke Richardson said. He deserves anything he wants to try to achieve here.”

    Richardson hoped Toews “can take that next step later in the week and hopefully (he) gives us the green light to go in a game.”

    But Toews emphasized his long-term health and ability to lead a “normal life” is most important. He wants to go out on a positive note and not hit the ice for a game playing through excessive pain and dysfunction.

    “It’s definitely on my mind that this could be my last few weeks here as a Blackhawk in Chicago,” Toews said. “It’s definitely very important for me to go out there and enjoy the game and just kind of soak it in and just really appreciate everything I’ve been able to be part of here in Chicago.”

    Budding Wild star Matt Boldy more willing to shoot, and it shows

    Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — Matt Boldy was unable to resist a smile in the aftermath of his second hat trick in five games for the Minnesota Wild, a young right wing and reluctant star trying to make sense of a remarkable hot streak.

    Does the puck feel as if it’s automatically going in the net these days each time he shoots?

    “Yeah, it does,” Boldy said in the locker room after leading the first-place Wild to a 5-1 win over Seattle. “My linemates are playing great. Hopefully you guys are giving them a lot of credit. You look at some of those goals – just putting it on a tee for me.”

    This non-attention-seeker has found himself squarely in the NHL spotlight. Boldy has 11 goals in nine games since Wild superstar Kirill Kaprizov was sidelined with a lower-body injury to raise his goal total to 28, in part because he’s been more willing to shoot. With vision and stickhandling as strengths and the humility of being a second-year player, it’s easy to be in a pass-first mindset.

    “Everybody kind of took turns talking to him. But it’s not that he didn’t want to. A lot of times a situation like that where a guy’s got that skillset, it’s a real unselfish quality, right?” coach Dean Evason said. “But I think he gets now that he helps the team a lot when he scores goals.”

    The Wild were confident enough in Boldy’s scoring ability to commit a seven-year, $49 million contract extension to him earlier this winter, after all.

    “I think I’ve always had that mentality, but sometimes you just get into spots and it comes off your stick good,” Boldy said. “When things are going well, the puck goes in the net.”’

    The Wild are 6-1-2 without Kaprizov. Boldy is a big reason why.

    “You go through the slumps, you learn what you need to do to score. I think he’s found a good way to be in the right spot and shoot the puck when he had a good opportunity,” center Joel Eriksson Ek said.

    The Wild have only won one division title in 22 years, the five-team Northwest Division in 2007-08. They’re leading the eight-team Central Division with eight games to go, with both Colorado and Dallas too close for comfort. They haven’t won a playoff series since 2015.

    With Kaprizov due back before the postseason and Boldy on this heater, a Wild team that ranks just 23rd in the league in goals per game (2.93) ought to have a better chance to advance. Eriksson Ek and Marcus Johansson have been ideal linemates for the Boston College product and Massachusetts native.

    Since the Wild entered the league in the 2000-01 season, only five NHL players have had more hat tricks at age 21 or younger than Boldy with three: Patrik Laine (eight), Marian Gaborik (five), Steven Stamkos (five), Alex DeBrincat (four) and Connor McDavid (four). Boldy turns 22 next week, so there’s still time for one or two more.

    “He’s big. He controls the puck a lot. He’s got a good shot, good release. He’s smart. He switches it up. He’s got good moves on breakaways. He’s a total player,” goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said. ”Fun to watch him grow this year.”

    Pezzetta scores shootout winner; Canadiens beat Sabres 4-3

    canadiens sabres
    Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports

    BUFFALO, N.Y. ⁠— Brendan Gallagher and the Montreal Canadiens rallied back to avoid playoff elimination with less than three weeks left in their season. The Buffalo Sabres, meanwhile, are running out of chances to stay in the Eastern Conference wild-card hunt.

    Gallagher forced overtime by scoring his 200th career goal, and Michael Pezzetta scored the decisive shootout goal in a 4-3 win over the Sabres on Monday night.

    “It’s one of those things I think we earned that chance. We weren’t fantastic but we did enough on the road tonight to get a win,” Gallagher said. “Smiles all around.”

    The Canadiens could laugh, especially after Pezzetta celebrated his goal by putting his stick between his legs and riding it like a wooden horse — much like former NHL tough guy Dave “Tiger” Williams did during his 14-year NHL career spanning the 1970s and 80s.

    “I’m not sure we’ll see that again. One of a kind,” said Gallagher. “I’d be worried about falling over.”

    Pezzetta scored by driving in from the right circle to beat Eric Comrie inside the far post. Buffalo’s Jack Quinn scored in the fourth shootout round, but was matched by Montreal’s Jesse Ylonen, whose shot from in tight managed to trickle in through Comrie.

    Jordan Harris and Alex Belzile also scored for Montreal, and Jake Allen stopped 30 shots through overtime, while allowing one goal on six shootout attempts.

    Montreal would have been eliminated from playoff contention for a second straight season – and two years removed from reaching the Stanley Cup Final – with any type of loss.

    The Sabres squandered a 3-2 third-period lead to drop to 3-6-3 in their past 12. Buffalo also blew a chance to move to within four points of idle Pittsburgh, which holds the eighth and final playoff spot.

    “Just a little hesitation,” forward JJ Peterka said of the Sabres third-period lapse. “We didn’t play with much energy and we didn’t play that aggressive as we played the two periods before. I think that was the difference.”

    Buffalo’s Lukas Rousek scored a goal and added an assist while filling in for leading scorer Tage Thompson, who did not play due to an upper body injury. Peterka and defenseman Riley Stillman also scored, and Comrie stopped 38 shots through overtime, and allowed two goals on six shootout attempts.

    Montreal blew two one-goal leads to fall behind 3-2 on Stillman’s goal at the 8:31 mark of the second period.

    Gallagher scored on the fly by using Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin as a screen to snap in a shot inside the far left post. With the goal, Gallagher tied Bobby Rousseau for 24th on the Canadiens career scoring list.

    “I liked the way we corrected ourselves, it’s a sign of maturity, in the way we stayed on task,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said, in recalling how the Canadiens recently unraveled in an 8-4 loss two weeks ago to Colorado, which plays a similar up-tempo style as Buffalo.


    The Sabres hosted their third Pride Night, with Russian D Ilya Lyubushkin electing not to participate in warmups by citing an anti-gay Kremlin law and fears of retribution at home in Moscow, where he has family and visits in the offseason. The remainder of the team wore dark blue jerseys with the Sabres logo on the front encircled by a rainbow-colored outline.

    During the first intermission, the Sabres broadcast a video in which GM Kevyn Adams said: “This is about recognizing someone’s humanity and true identity. We know there are people out there struggling with who they are, and we want them to know that they have an ally in the Buffalo Sabres.”


    Canadiens: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.

    Sabres: Host the New York Rangers on Friday night.

    Flyers chairman Scott to retire; Hilferty becomes successor

    Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

    PHILADELPHIA — Dave Scott will retire as chairman of the Philadelphia Flyers’ parent company Comcast Spectacor and be replaced by Dan Hilferty.

    Hilferty, who was recently named CEO of Comcast Spectacor, will succeed Scott as chairman of the company on April 17 and as the team’s governor on July 1.

    Scott joined Comcast Spectacor in December 2013 and the Flyers have struggled under his reign. They will miss the playoffs for a third straight season and haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1975.

    “Our number one goal for the Flyers will be to consistently compete for the Stanley Cup,” Hilferty said. “It is going to be a process that will take time to get on that path, but I’m confident we are headed in the right direction with Danny Briere as interim GM, Coach Tortorella, and our hiring of a President of Hockey Operations soon. Our leadership team will be fully focused to deliver on this for our fans while also continuing to make the sports complex the best location for sports and entertainment in the nation.”

    As Chairman and CEO of Comcast Spectacor, Hilferty will lead the company’s entire portfolio, including the Philadelphia Flyers. Spectacor Sports and Entertainment CEO Valerie Camillo will continue to work directly with Hilferty, overseeing the Wells Fargo Center, including its continued transformation, and lead the Flyers’ business operations.