Cap space for Eichel? Golden Knights’ Pacioretty out indefinitely

Cap space for Eichel? Golden Knights' Pacioretty out indefinitely
Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images

After Thursday, we know that the Golden Knights announced that Max Pacioretty is out indefinitely following wrist surgery. What we don’t yet know is how Pacioretty’s indefinite absence may affect how the Golden Knights might fit Jack Eichel under the salary cap.

Golden Knights announce Max Pacioretty is out indefinitely

No doubt about it, when people heard about Max Pacioretty being out indefinitely, many thought of the salary cap implications for the Golden Knights. How could you not?

After all, while Pacioretty’s cap hit ($7 million) doesn’t totally cancel out that of Eichel ($10M), it would alleviate a lot of potential salary cap stress for the Golden Knights.

But it would be silly to consider Pacioretty missing a ton of time (perhaps the rest of the regular season?) a “good thing.”

While Mark Stone deserves every bit of his hype as an elite NHL winger, people might sleep on Pacioretty’s recent work. Most obviously, “Patches” has been productive, including so far this season (21 points in 16 games).

For all the salary cap/Eichel talk around the Golden Knights, it’s worth noting that Pacioretty has dealt with plenty of health headaches this season. Earlier, he missed significant time with what was believed to be a broken foot.

So, no … it’s too simple to look at this as a promising development for the Golden Knights. Pacioretty is too effective, and we still don’t know a) when Eichel will be ready and b) how effective he’ll be off the bat, and in general.

But this does simplify things a bit.

A tangled web of a cap situation

Between injuries and COVID absences, there’s some significant confusion regarding every element of the Golden Knights salary cap situation.

According to Cap Friendly’s listings, Eichel and quite a few other Golden Knights currently sit on LTIR:

Mark Stone is on (vanilla?) IR, while Robin Lehner is dealing with an injury. It looks like Alex Pietrangelo and Evgenii Dadonov recently left COVID protocol, while Brett Howden (and coach Peter DeBoer) are still on that list.

That’s a lot of money floating around, but again, Pacioretty and his $7M cap hit likely going to LTIR could solve much (if not all) of the Eichel riddle for the Golden Knights.

[PHT Year in Review: Top stories of 2021]

Still, it’s not a perfectly clean situation. Ideally, the Golden Knights would have time to acclimate Eichel with Pacioretty and Stone — especially, but not only, if they end up forming a super line. That won’t be possible before the postseason if Pacioretty must linger on LTIR. (That lack of familiarity creates at least one wrinkle compared to the Lightning walking the salary cap tightrope with Nikita Kucherov last season.)

Maybe that won’t matter because of the sheer collection of talent on hand. Perhaps the splashy-move-loving Golden Knights have even more swerves planned.

Whatever happens, it will be interesting to watch, although that’s also how you can describe the sensation of watching Stone and Pacioretty make great hockey music together.

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.

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

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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    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

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    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

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    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.

    Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

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    TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

    Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

    Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

    Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

    Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.