Golden Knights trade Max Pacioretty, Dylan Coghlan to Hurricanes

This was purely a salary dump move for Vegas.

The Vegas Golden Knights pulled off the organization’s latest bold move by dealing Max Pacioretty and defenseman Dylan Coghlan to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for future considerations, the team announced Wednesday evening.

The trade was purely a salary dump and will clear nearly $7.8 million of cap space.

The Golden Knights now have just under $13 million with which to sign Reilly Smith and Brett Howden as well as the team’s three primary restricted free agents in Nicolas Roy, Nicolas Hague and Keegan Kolesar.

Pacioretty has one year remaining on a deal that carries a $7 million cap hit. For that reason, his name had surfaced in trade rumors, but the decision is still a relatively unexpected twist at the end of what had been a quiet first day of free agency for the Golden Knights.

Originally acquired from Montreal in exchange for Nick Suzuki, Tomas Tatar and a second-round pick back in 2018, Pacioretty scored 97 goals and 194 points in 224 regular-season games with the Golden Knights, adding 15 goals and 30 points in 36 postseason contests.

The American winger scored 19 goals and 37 points in 39 games this past season, finishing fourth on the team in goals despite missing 43 games due to three separate injuries.

When healthy, Pacioretty was the team’s best pure goal-scorer and was one of Vegas’ top contributors.

He and Mark Stone developed instant chemistry on the top line, and it was believed to be Vegas’ intention for the two to play with Jack Eichel on a stacked top line. Due to injuries, however, that never truly materialized.

Coghlan, originally signed by Vegas as an undrafted free agent back in 2017, played a career-high 59 games last season, recording three goals and 13 points. He played an important depth role for Vegas over the last two years, including seeing some time as a fourth-line winger when former head coach Pete DeBoer needed roster flexibility.

Coghlan wraps up his two-year stint with Vegas with six goals and 19 points in 88 games. The 24-year-old had one year remaining on a deal carrying a $762,500 cap hit and showed promise throughout his development.

The Golden Knights traded Evgenii Dadonov to Montreal earlier this summer to clear an additional $5 million in cap space.

But today’s deal signals an extreme mismanagement of assets as well as an utter lack of leverage in trade negotiations.

Vegas originally gave up a future first-line center in Suzuki as well as Tatar and a second-round pick for Pacioretty after parting with first-, second- and third-round picks for Tatar in Year 1.

Of the players Vegas was considering moving, Pacioretty had the most value but yielded nothing in return.