The Vegas Golden Knights have placed forward Max Pacioretty on injured reserve, retroactive to Dec. 17, and he will miss the next three games with an undisclosed injury, the team announced Wednesday.
In a corresponding move, the Golden Knights recalled forward Brandon Pirri from AHL Chicago and he will be available Thursday against the New York Islanders at T-Mobile Arena.
Pacioretty left Monday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at 10:16 of the second period when he collided with Blue Jackets center Riley Nash. The AT&T SportsNet broadcast showed Pacioretty’s right skate banged against Nash’s left skate, and that might be what the injury is related to.
Golden Knights defenseman Colin Miller did not practice Wednesday and is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, per the club.
Pacioretty started the season slow with two goals in his first 20 games, but went on a tear with eight goals from Nov. 18-29. He did not score in the next eight games and missed two of those (Dec. 4 against Washington with an undisclosed injury, and healthy scratch Dec. 14 at New Jersey). Pacioretty missed four games (Oct. 28 - Nov. 3) due to an upper-body injury.
The timing of Pacioretty going on IR is less than ideal for the Golden Knights. Center Paul Stastny made his return to the lineup Saturday after missing two months with a lower-body injury, thus finally putting the line of Pacioretty, Stastny and Alex Tuch on the ice for the world to see.
But that will be on hold for another week. In the meantime, Pirri is getting another chance with the main roster. The 27-year-old forward from Toronto leads the AHL with 41 points (17 goals, 24 assists). Pirri took line rushes with Stastny and Tuch during practice Wednesday, Should he make his season debut tomorrow, he’ll likely be in the top six.
“It’s an opportunity that a lot of call-ups dream about,” Pirri said. “For me, it’s do what I do best. [Stastny and Tuch] are two really talented players and are very good at what they do, and I think I can complement them well.”
Pirri scored three goals in two games with Vegas last season. The former second-round pick in 2009 has been a two-time All-Star in the AHL and was the MVP in the 2014 game. Pirri also has familiarity with coach Gerard Gallant during his time in Florida (2014, 2015).
“I feel comfortable with [Gallant] behind the bench,” he said. “He really believes in me and puts me in situations where I can succeed. You want to repay the guy and do well.”
Pacioretty will be eligible to return Dec. 27 against the Colorado Avalanche.