It’s time to take off your summer clothes and throw on a sweater because hockey season is right around the corner.
The Golden Knights open training camp Thursday, start their preseason Sunday and play their first regular season game in just over three weeks (Oct. 4). They’ve already had captains’ practices and dealt with surprising news both good (trade for Max Pacioretty) and bad (Nate Schmidt’s suspension).
As they get ramped up we’ll be happy to take any and all questions that you send to us but because of Sunday’s big news we’ll address the newest Knight below and in the video above:
Q: Thoughts on the Max Pacioretty deal?
I’ll echo general manager George McPhee and say that dealing for a three-time All-Star like Pacioretty makes the Knights better on paper this season. He should improve their second line a lot and he should put up good numbers working next to a center like Paul Stastny.
He’s a proven scorer (five 60-point seasons), a good leader (he was Montreal’s captain) and has one of the best shots in the NHL. The Knights made sure he was no rental either by giving him a four-year extension.
The downside is of course what the team had to give up to get him, which was forward Tomas Tatar, prospect Nick Suzuki and a 2019-second round pick.
Suzuki is a promising forward who was the 13th overall pick in 2017. Tatar cost a first-, second- and third-round draft pick at last year’s trade deadline and scored six points in 20 games in a Knights’ uniform. So you add up all that and the trade really was two firsts (Suzuki and the Tatar pick), two seconds and a third for Pacioretty.
That’s a lot, but it’s a justifiable price if you feel like you’re close to the Stanley Cup. And this trade shows McPhee certainly believes his team is.
Q: Likelihood Erik Brannstrom makes the team if there’s no deal with Shea Theodore by the start of the season?
Young defenseman Shea Theodore still doesn’t have a contract with the Knights, but if he doesn’t at the start of the season I don’t think Brannstrom is the replacement.
Brannstrom, 19, was the 15th overall pick in 2017 and has a lot of upside as a puck-moving defenseman in the Theodore mold. Like Theodore, he still needs to work on the defensive side of his game. I don’t see a need for the Knights to rush him if Theodore doesn’t break camp with the team.