In a world where the salary cap has increased by $1 million in the last three years, cap space has become king. Escaping deals and not having to pay to move deals right now has become a very important part of the game. In a world with a flat cap, cap space will decide the fate of a lot of teams. One of those teams was Vegas, and Carolina got them to pay the price for being so wreckless with their Salary cap management.
Max Pacioretty was traded to Carolina because Vegas just straight up could not afford to keep Pacioretty around. Pacioretty’s agent Allan Walsh spoke on his podcast regarding the Pacioretty trade and the reasons surrounding the Pacioretty move to Raleigh. If you want to listen yourself, just google Allan Walsh’s podcast Agent Provocateur and listen to it on your preferred platform.
Walsh suggests that the Hurricanes intentionally wanted to give up nothing to send a message to the Vegas Golden Knights about their cap mismanagement. With that said, Walsh suggests that the Hurricanes intentionally rejected sending back a late-round pick to embarrass the Golden Knights. I don’t know how much of this is just an agent trying to continue to raise the hype and expectations of their client, but if it is true, it’s an interesting stance from the front office.
Apparently, Pacioretty and his agent knew that being traded out of Vegas was very likely due to the cap situation in Vegas. His $7 million was kind of being wasted with his frequent stints on the long-term injured reserve. You can’t impact the team’s play if you’re not playing, and that is a major concern with a cap-strapped team. Pacioretty knew he was likely on the way out, and the Hurricanes were able to take him in.
Why Carolina? Well, he was free. They liked the player and even got an incentive to do it with a young defenseman. Carolina had a fit for the player, the cap space to take him, and with Pacioretty having a 10-team no-trade list, Carolina was a good fit for the player at that time. It was completely risk-free and it was an aggressive move from the Hurricanes in terms of both cup chasing and sending a message to Vegas.