Last off-season the Carolina Hurricanes made a big splash acquiring Max Pacioretty from the Vegas Golden Knights. This was one of two impact trades that summer, acquiring Brent Burns from the San Jose Sharks.
Unfortunately for Pacioretty and the Canes, he suffered an Achilles injury that required surgery.
Requiring a long rehabilitation ahead of him, Pacioretty took some time to make an appearance on the ice for his new team. The teammate and person that he is, Pacioretty made an impact on the players and the community immediately.
It was not until January that the former Montreal captain was able to dress in the Carolina red and black. He started off as advertised, shooting the puck at will. He had 13 shots in his first three games with the Canes.
Along with the shots, the 34-year-old had 3 goals in as many games played.
Just two games after the solid start, Pacioretty fell to the ice with a non-contact injury to that very same Achilles. It was heartbreaking to watch.
It was no doubt that Carolina was justified in acquiring Pacioretty, even after just 5 games played. He is a shooter that has the skill to score 30 goals while being a tremendous locker-room presence.
After being acquired from Vegas, the Connecticut native had one year remaining on his contract with a $7 million cap hit.
Now recovering from his second Achilles surgery in less than a year, Pacioretty is a free agent.
It will be one of the many questions this summer but should the Canes bring back Pacioretty for another chance? Naturally, the contract would have to be short-term and at a much lower price.
Pacioretty obviously has his better years behind him and coming off two big injuries it is tough to think that he will command any contract near the one he was on after arriving in Carolina. Carolina can also not afford to take a big financial chance on him with a similar outcome.
It appears that Raleigh grew up on Pacioretty and his family so that should play a part in his decision.
The best situation for the player and the team would be to go one year at a time for $1-1.5 million a year. This would give Pacioretty a chance to come back to a familiar spot and potentially earn a future multi-year deal.
The Canes would be able to take a chance on a player they like but have the financial flexibility to make other serious moves. If he cannot come back on a deal like that it is not worth taking the chance.
It is also possible that he waits to sign a deal or have an offer until he is healthy, which could be past training camp.