The offensively starved Arizona Coyotes desperately need a scorer like Max Pacioretty. The team was 23rd in scoring last season with just 2.71 goals per game. Pacioretty himself averaged 0.45 goals a game and that could certainly help. To demonstrate how Pacioretty could dominate the offence on the Coyotes, Nick Schmaltz was 99th in scoring (excluding Taylor Hall who didn’t play the entire season in Arizona). Pacioretty was tied for 20th in scoring.
Max Pacioretty to Arizona Would Advance the Offence
Pacioretty had 32 goals last season in a Vegas Golden Knights‘ uniform. He added 34 assists to show his well-rounded scoring capabilities. Some will say, well… he’s 32 years old, and while that is true, he just turned that age about a month ago. He still has plenty of hockey left in him. He has been rumoured to be moved by the Golden Knights, who like the Coyotes live in salary cap hell. Pacioretty commands a $7 million salary for the next three seasons. The issue with the Vegas hockey club is they just added an expensive defenceman by the name of Alex Pietrangelo to their roster. He set back the salary budget by $8.8 million for the next seven years.
It’s obvious that the Golden Knights need to either move Pacioretty or Marc-Andre Fleury. They both make the same salary, but how easy will it be to move a 36-year-old goaltender who still has two years left on his contract? Logically, it would seem that Pacioretty would be the likely trade candidate instead of Fleury. The issue could be with the Coyotes experiencing salary cap issues themselves, the deal must be a sweet one for the Vegas club to even consider pulling it off.
What it Take to Convince Vegas to Make a Deal
Obviously, Vegas needs to reduce its salary output and Arizona would need to trade a player and perhaps a prospect for starters. Arizona may even need to retain some salary of a player they intend to deal in a trade with Vegas. When one looks at the Coyotes’ roster and which players are up for contract renewals, there are some choices. One that may interest the Golden Knights could be defenceman Jason Demers. He has just a $3,937,500 salary and will be a restricted free agent after next season. In addition, the Vegas team may demand a prospect to sweeten the deal and yet keep the salary output reasonable.
A possibility could be Lane Pederson who has a $735,000 salary cap and has had some success in the AHL. Pederson will be a restricted free agent after this season. He has tallied 51 goals and 66 assists in 167 games there. He’s a right-shooting centre and could be a good addition to the Vegas roster. So, the math determines that the salary cap savings would be $2.33 million. If that wouldn’t be adequate, the Coyotes could retain some of Demers salary.
How This Helps Vegas
They need to pare down their salary cap and Demers could also mentor young defenceman Zach Whitecloud who has only played 17 NHL games thus far. Demers is an excellent locker room guy and can help solidify the Vegas defence. Vegas getting a young prospect like Pederson is always a good thing. Mostly this is about getting the team’s salary cap to be more manageable.
How This Help Arizona
It goes without saying that the Coyotes would cherish having a scoring threat like Max Pacioretty in their lineup. A top line of Pacioretty, Christian Dvorak, and Conor Garland could really put some points on the board. Of course, if players like Clayton Keller, Dvorak, Phil Kessel, and Nick Schmaltz can produce more offence, the team wouldn’t need Pacioretty. If the Coyotes can obtain an offensive player with Pacioretty’s scoring prowess they will compete much better in the realigned Western Division this season. There’s no doubt that facing the likes of the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, and Vegas Golden Knights eight times this upcoming season will require additional offence to get to the postseason.
Playoff Hopes Could Hinge on a Deal Like This
The Coyotes will be looking to be in the top four of the newly realigned West Division and adding a player like Max Pacioretty can really give them a good shot at that goal. Giving up Demers will not be that painful since the Coyotes are really high on the prospects of young Victor Soderstrom being able to make the team.
It seems about time that now that new general manager Bill Armstrong has had time to assess his team’s potential he should go for it. The Coyotes are strong on defence and goaltending. If they can upgrade their offence, who knows what their potential will be.