While most of the attention was focused on the Vegas Rookie Showcase, Golden Knights general manager George McPhee was busy making a late-night trade.
The Knights acquired high-scoring left wing Max Pacioretty from Montreal on Sunday night in exchange for forwards Tomas Tatar and Nick Suzuki and a second-round pick in the 2019 draft.
The deal was announced less than an hour after Suzuki skated in the Knights’ 5-4 loss to San Jose at City National Arena.
McPhee was not available to comment and will hold a news conference Monday to discuss the trade.
Pacioretty has scored 30 or more goals in a season five times, and the 29-year-old should upgrade the Knights’ offense despite coming off a down year.
He had 17 goals and 20 assists for the struggling Canadiens last season. Before last season, the former first-round pick produced four straight 30-goal seasons.
Pacioretty, who served as the Canadiens’ captain since 2015, will be an unrestricted free agent next summer and told the team last week he would not negotiate a new contract once the regular season begins.
He has a $4.5 million cap hit this season.
Pacioretty had 226 career goals and 222 assists in 10 seasons with Montreal. He also was the 2012 Masterton Award winner, a comeback player of the year honor of sorts given for “perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication” to hockey.
Tatar was acquired from the Detroit Red Wings at the trade deadline in February for three draft picks — a first-round pick in the June draft, a second-rounder next year and a third-round selection in 2021.
He struggled to adapt and had four goals and two assists in 20 games with the Knights.
By trading Tatar, the Knights also shed his $5.3 million cap hit.
Suzuki was the No. 13 overall pick in the 2017 draft, and the forward is regarded as one of the top prospects in the Knights’ farm system.
Suzuki posted 100 points (42 goals, 58 assists) with Owen Sound last season and ranked fourth overall in the Ontario Hockey League in scoring.