Updated July 13, 2022 - 5:54 pm
The Golden Knights traded left wing Max Pacioretty and defenseman Dylan Coghlan to the Carolina Hurricanes on the first day of NHL free agency Wednesday for future considerations, the team announced.
Pacioretty, 33, had one year remaining on his contract with a $7 million cap hit. Coghlan, 24, had one year left on his deal with a $762,500 cap hit.
The move gave the Knights about $12.96 million in usable cap space. With it, they re-signed unrestricted free agents Reilly Smith (three years, $15 million) and Brett Howden (one year, $1.5 million). podcast
But in Pacioretty, the team is losing one of the NHL’s best goal scorers and an important member of the locker room. In Coghlan, the organization is losing a young homegrown defenseman who played 59 games last season.
Pacioretty joined the Knights before their second season in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens for left wing Tomas Tatar, center Nick Suzuki and a 2019 second-round pick. He scored 97 goals with 97 assists in 224 games with the team, a 36-goal pace over 82 games.
Pacioretty was especially effective once paired with captain Mark Stone after the 2019 trade deadline. The wing duo outscored opponents 116-62 at five-on-five in their four seasons together.
What held them back from even more production was health. Pacioretty played a full season once for the Knights. He was out 16 games his first year, eight in 2021 and 43 last season.
He also missed four playoff games in 2020 and the team’s first six in 2021. He did return for Game 7 of the Knights’ first-round series against the Minnesota Wild in 2021 and scored the game-winning goal in the second period.
Pacioretty, a former captain in Montreal, was also an important leader on the Knights. He took younger players under his wing. Pacioretty hosted Cody Glass for dinner before the center’s NHL debut in 2019. The veteran also let Peyton Krebs tag along during his summer workouts to get the center ready for his first full professional season.
Pacioretty also was active in the community. He and center Paul Stastny had a “Paul and Patches” program the two seasons they played for the Knights that tried to spread the game to disadvantaged youth. They would teach kids about hockey, then invite them to a game as their guests.
Coghlan was an undrafted free agent find by the Knights. He played an important depth role for the organization over the past two seasons and had six goals and 13 assists in 88 games. He scored his first three goals in the same game March 10, 2021, against Minnesota.
Pacioretty is the latest Knights veteran to be traded in a cap-clearing move the past three offseasons. Stastny and defenseman Nate Schmidt left in 2020, with defenseman Alex Pietrangelo signing a seven-year, $61.6 million contract. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and right wing Ryan Reaves were traded in the 2021 offseason. Right wing Evgenii Dadonov was sent to Montreal for defenseman Shea Weber’s contract in June.
This latest deal leaves the Knights short on scoring compared to last season. Dadonov was third on the team in goals with 20, and Pacioretty was fourth with 19.