There is no doubt that the Vegas Golden Knights have been crunching numbers as they struggle to get under the salary cap after signing top free agent Alex Pietrangelo to a seven-year deal, which carries an average annual value of $8.8 million. As of Thursday night, the team is nearly $1 million over the league’s flattened salary cap of $81.5 million. This prompted rumours to emerge, reporting that forward Max Pacioretty could be on the move, looking to rid themselves of his $7 million annual salary, with three years left to his contract.
It didn’t take long for rival teams to get curious by the star forward, who
led the Golden Knights in goals (32) and points (66) during the shortened 2019-20 season. The Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils and Florida Panthers became likely destinations, being the only three teams in the NHL with the cap space to acquire Pacioretty, while simultaneously also having the need for a top six forward.
This looks like it got Golden Knights owner Bill Foley quite nervous, he surprisingly turned down the idea that Pacioretty was even on the trade block when he was interviewed on the air of KLAS TV in Las Vegas.
“We’re not shopping Patches,” Foley said. “We do have cap issues, and so some of those things have to be resolved as we go forward, we started getting into the season. But he definitely is not being shopped.”
That’s pretty clear. However, this sounds like another move will have to be made in order for Vegas to be cap compliant. Golden Knights insider Jesse Granger reported on Thursday that the team has had discussions on potential trades involving veterans Jonathan Marchessault and Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Golden Knights traded for Pacioretty in a blockbuster move with the Montreal Canadiens bak in September 2018, sending away top prospect Nick Suzuki, forward Tomas Tatar, and a second-round pick to the Habs, and according to Foley, another trade isn’t in the cards for the 32-year-old.
However, another move will have to come to the Golden Knights in order to respect the flattened cap. Vegas isn’t however the only team struggling to respect the cap: the Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers will also need to make adjustments ahead of the 2020-21 season.