The deal brings to an end not only Pacioretty's decade-long tenure in Montreal, but all of the speculation about the star forward's future which had been the cause for great debate throughout the offseason.
Earlier Monday, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said the trade was contingent upon Pacioretty signing in Vegas long term. Bergevin remained mute on Pacioretty's future as the summer wore on, while the frsutrated captain spoke often publicly about his situation in limbo and his detiorating relationship with the club.
Bergevin said that when Pacioretty made the trade request, it was evident then that an extension wasn't going to be on the table.
The 29-year-old Pacioretty has spent his entire pro career with the Canadiens, and is coming off a 17-goal, 20-assist campaign with the Habs.
Pacioretty had one more season left on a six-year deal worth an annual US$4.5 million.
Suzuki was the key piece in the deal, according to Bergevin, who said the Canadiens had him 11th on their draft list in 2017. Over the last seven years, only two players (Alex Ovechkin and John Tavares) have scored more even strength goals than Pacioretty. It is very possible that with a strong camp, Suzuki could make the opening-night roster in Montreal.
Suzuki has yet to make his National Hockey League debut.
"I'm not going to deny it, you guys; he didn't perform up to par in Vegas", said Bergevin. Obviously, only time will tell who wins the trade, but the potential bounce back over the next three seasons from Tatar, the massive upside of Nick Suzuki, and another prospect via draft pick on the way, the Canadiens are putting themselves in a good spot down the road. The Habs GM also acquired forwards Max Domi, Joel Armia and Matthew Peca, along with Tatar, to complete a substantial overhaul of the roster this offseason after finishing with only 71 points previous year.
Last week, Pacioretty and his agent, Allan Walsh, shot down the notion that their camp had asked for a trade. The rumors are now over and he will join a talented team, one with far loftier expectations than the Canadiens. However, he must also uproot his family from Montreal, a city he spoke often of with fondness.
Add in the facts that top defenceman Shea Weber will be sidelined until some point in December, that 20-goal scorer Paul Byron is looking at a late-October return after off-season shoulder surgery and that 10-goal scorer/energy forward Andrew Shaw likely won't be ready to start the season, and it's not hard to see why most prognosticators have the Canadiens pegged as a lottery team.
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