Vegas Golden Knights: Max Pacioretty Needs To Find That Scoring Touch Once Again
The Vegas Golden Knights made a splash by trading for Max Pacioretty this offseason. The perennial 30+ goal scorer was one of the league’s best at getting the puck to the back of the net. Last season, Patches (Pacioretty) suffered through his worst season in years. If the Knights are going to with the Stanley Cup this season, he’ll need to find that old form we are used to seeing.
Aside from the lockout year of 2012-13, Pacioretty has been a 60+ point producer since the 2011-12 season. Even during the lockout-shortened campaign, he managed 39 points in 44 games. That’s why it’s so surprising he only amassed 37 points in 2017-18. While only playing in 64 games, that’s the not type of production you expect from Patches, especially with only 17 goals.
We can assume the dip in production was due to a few factors. The first, and most glaring was his Montreal team. The Canadiens were one of the worst in the NHL. It didn’t help matters that Alex Galchenyuk isn’t a natural center, the position he was at for a majority of the season. Brandon Gallagher put up 31 goals on the line. Patches didn’t mesh well with the two.
Leaving Montreal was the best thing that could have happened to Patches. He’s now one of the focal points on a loaded Vegas team. He’ll be playing on a line with Paul Statsny, a more natural center than Galchenyuk. Assuming Pacioretty can stay healthy, he’s a lock for 30+ goals.
What’s best is that Patches is projected to be on the dangerous Vegas top power-play unit. This is one that includes two 70+ point scorers in William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault. The scoring chances will be there with the man advantage.
One thing Paciortetty does well is shoot the puck. He’s well over the 200 shot mark every season. In the 2014-15 and 2015-16 season he shot the puck over 300 times. We know Patches isn’t afraid to let it go. He’s a gunner on the ice. That type of mentality will add to the Knights already loaded core of scorers.
The Vegas Golden Knights took the NHL by storm last season. The team lost only David Perron, a 66 point scorer with only 16 goals, and James Neal, 25 goal scorer who did most of his damage at the beginning of the season. Bringing in Pacioretty, who can score 35+ goals will replace the production of these two by himself. Along with the aforementioned Statsny, the Knights added more than they subtracted.
If the Vegas Golden Knights want to have a good season, they’ll need Patches to score. With San Jose adding Eric Karlsson, Anaheim looking strong, Nashville with one of the most potent offenses in the league, and Winnipeg has who could be the league’s best goalie, every team in the West has a legit shot at dethroning the Knights. The 35 goals Pacioretty brings goes a long way in determining the Conference champ.
Without Patches being at the top of his game, the Vegas Golden Knights have a much lesser chance at repeating. I’d not expect him to have an off-year like last season. Pacioretty is fully healthy and is on a winning team. That’s all he needs to be successful. When Montreal was the cream of the crop, he was the best player on the team and the Captain. It’s time he goes back to that form in 2018.