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Peculiar Pauses Poisoned Pacioretty’s Potentially Praiseworthy Performance

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Max Pacioretty trade rumors Vegas Golden Knights training camp

Welcome back to Vegas Hockey Now’s season in review series where we look at every player on the Vegas Golden Knights and their 2021-22 season from Michael Amadio to Zach Whitecloud.

You can catch up on the series here: Michael AmadioReilly SmithJonas RondbjergKeegan KolesarRobin LehnerAlex Pietrangelo, Nolan Patrick, and Jake Leschyshyn.

Today we will go over both Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty, two of the biggest Golden Knights.

MAX PACIORETTY

Max Pacioretty Vegas Golden Knights official 2021-22 headshot

Stats: 39 GP 19-18-37 pts
Contract: 1 year left at $7 million (M-NMC)
Games Missed: 43
Status: Bumps and Bruises
VHN’s Grade: D

Overall Thoughts

I chose to do a season in review for both Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty today for an obvious reason. Both superstar players saw their 2021-22 seasons dramatically shortened due to injuries. The Vegas Golden Knights felt this, as they missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Pacioretty played just two more games than Stone this past season. But unlike Stone, his injuries seemed to come from multiple different places. Both Pacioretty and Stone were injured in the second game of the season against the Los Angeles Kings.

Pacioretty then missed 17 games with a lower-body injury. From late December to late Janurary he was out with a wrist injury. This injury required Patches to have mid-season surgery which caused him to miss 10 games. In late February and early March, he missed four with another lower-body injury, and finally in mid-March and early April he missed 12 with an undisclosed injury.

The longest streak Pacioretty went in 2021-22 without being injured was 14 games.

These are all signs of an older injury-ridden player as Pacioretty is the third-oldest player on the VGK. He has been in the league for 14 years and has seen his fair share of brutal injuries in the NHL.

He’s still a money-in-the-bank goal scorer as injuries seem to be the only thing that prevents him from scoring a good 30 goals each season. But as a pending UFA in 2022-23 Pacioretty will need to have a bounce-back season.

Highlights

Consistency is something that the Golden Knights lacked a lot this past season. But one player that seemed to find a way on the scoresheet almost every other night was Pacioretty.

Just like with Stone, in the games that Pacioretty played in, he was a difference maker. Pacioretty had strong connections alongside Stone and Chandler Stephenson on a makeshift first line. As bad as the Golden Knight’s powerplay struggled overall, Pacioretty was a solid sniper option on PP1 with eight powerplay goals on the season.

The entire month of December was the Max Pacioretty show as for a brief period of time, he was arguably the best player in the NHL. He put up 10 goals four assists and 14 points in just seven games.

What’s Next?

I would say the health status of Max Pacioretty is much more of a concern for the Golden Knights than the health status of Mark Stone. Stone is younger, has a contract that runs past this season, and has one major injury in one particular spot on his body in his back. For Pacioretty, he’s 33, a pending UFA, and has multiple bumps, bruises, and battle scars.

There is really only one of two ways I see the 2022-23 season going for Pacioretty. Either he bounces back and becomes that 30-goal scorer we all know he can be, or he struggles with injuries again and the Golden Knights decide to let him walk in free agency next summer and pocket the $7 million in cap.

With Alex Tuch now in a far-off land they call Buffalo, Stone’s status uncertain, and Reilly Smith a free agent, losing Pacioretty would greatly damage the VGK’s winger depth.

Welcome to your new home for Vegas Golden Knights breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to VHN+ for all of our members-only content the entire Vegas Hockey Now crew plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now and writes for the Boulder City Review-Journal. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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