The Package For Max Pacioretty: Canadiens Captain Vegas Bound

The grandest saga of the Montreal Canadiens off season has come to a close.  Debate and speculation can now occupy themselves with the impending roster decisions to be made as well as the selection of the next captain.


That, however, is for another day.


Photo: Steven Irwin, SNI Memorabilia


Another captain is gone, another superstar sent packing and a familiar face of the Canadiens previous window of opportunity will find himself sporting an unfamiliar jersey come the season’s start in October.  However, his departure did come with a hefty price tag; the biggest piece likely being the most unfamiliar name to much of Habs Nation in Nick Suzuki.


Suzuki, 19 years old and a longtime piece of OHL Owen Sound property.  Suzuki is the kid that makes the Attack live up to their name, posting 100 points last year, including 42 goals whilst being a pass first player.  He seems to drive the game with not only his playmaking but his speed.  He may be slightly undersized at somewhere around 5’10-5’11 and somewhere to the tune of 185 pounds but he is a willing combatant at the front of the net; Canadiens fans will soon find themselves salivating over the idea of him on a line with Brendan Gallagher.


His brain and his hands match his feet.  Suzuki has undeniable levels of hockey IQ and that undying motor that so often seems to be sought and must certainly bear the correct attitude to be such a momentous piece of such a major transaction; one that will certainly be discussed for better or for worse for years, possibly decades to come.  On top of this particular set of skills, he puts in steady back checking efforts to alleviate any pesky concerns about his two-way game.  Think perhaps a Phillip Danault type but with a higher offensive ceiling.


To watch Suzuki and his particular brand of skills, in a word: slippery.  That is said in the absolute best way possible.


The scary thought here is that in spite of possessing a web of traits that spell success at center, he would perhaps still be the likeliest of Montreal’s better center prospects to be placed at the wing as a result of the likes of Kotkaniemi and Poehling.


There may be a good reason or two that Suzuki was chosen 13th overall in 2017.  Nick has only seen one game of AHL action, a playoff game with the Chicago Wolves, but may find himself making the preseason and roster decisions for October just a bit more interesting…


Supplementary to this, former Red Wing Tomas Tatar will bring his 4 season streak of 20 goal seasons to La Belle Province in addition to his ability to play on either of the Canadiens logjammed wings.  This considered, he is certainly a lock to be part of the lineup on opening night and the most immediate replacement in terms of a roster spot to the departed Max Pacioretty.


Tatar, under contract until 2021 at $5,300,000 AAV, can be summed up in four words: right place, right time.


Here are a few more, though: Tatar is similar to Suzuki in that he is slightly undersized (slightly shorter and lighter than Suzuki) but plays a tenacious game with fair to good speed.  His size has perhaps left him in a boat that others today still find themselves in: not quite physically gifted enough to truly tap into the true potential ceiling of his game and at the age of 27, yes, it does seem unlikely that it will change all that much.  That said, if being in the range of 20-29 goals is seen as being less than his potential, bringing him on board cannot be a bad idea; if such is still not a convincing point, the Red Wings acquired picks in the first, second and third round of the 2018, 2019 and 2021 drafts respectively when they sent him to Vegas in the first place.  Perhaps a similar deal could be had in the future.


These new arrivals bring a second round pick in the 2019 entry draft along with them from Vegas as well.


The All About The Habs staff wishes Max Pacioretty the best in his future endeavors as he finds himself putting a new set of armor and defending a new castle.


Photo: Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images

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