August 30, 2021 4 min read

Max Pacioretty is a 32-year-old professional hockey player for the National Hockey League. He currently plays left wing for the Vegas Golden Knights in Las Vegas and has also played for the Montreal Canadiens, eventually becoming their team captain, during his NHL career.

Max Pacioretty, The Early Years

Born in Connecticut in 1988, Max Pacioretty began playing hockey originally after his mother noticed he had very high energy levels and began taking him to a nearby ice rink to have an outlet for that energy.  He went on to play Pee-Wee hockey at a high level, competing in the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament in 2002 with the NY Rangers minor team. 

Pacioretty then played high school hockey at New Canaan High School in Connecticut, where he led the state in points as a freshman player.  He played junior hockey in the USHL for the Sioux City Musketeers in 2006-2007.  At the end of that season, he was picked during the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, 22nd overall.   He played college hockey at University of Michigan for one season, scoring 15 goals and 38 points.

At the end of his freshman year at U of M, Max Pacioretty was signed to a three-year entry level contract by the Montreal Canadiens.  He spent the majority of his first year playing in the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate team, the Hamilton Bulldogs.   His first call up to the NHL was in January 2009, where he scored his first NHL goal on his very first attempted shot, though his team still lost to New Jersey Devils in a final score of 4-1.  After being sent back down to the Bulldogs for the remainder of that season and the beginning of the 2010-2011 season, he was recalled to the Canadiens where he saw more regular time on the ice.

Max Pacioretty

Unfortunately, Max Pacioretty saw his season cut short after suffering an injury that saw him heading off the ice on a stretcher on March 8, 2011.  He had been hit by Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, colliding with the stanchion at the end of the team bench.  The result of this hit and subsequent collision was a fracture to Pacioretty’s C4 vertebrae and a severe concussion.  After the NHL did not choose to take any additional action aside from Chara’s 5-minute major penalty and game misconduct call, the Montreal Police Service announced they were opening a criminal investigation into the action.  This incident essentially forced the NHL to re-examine how they handled violence on ice and its consequences.

Pacioretty did recover from the injuries before the start of the next season and had a very strong 2011-2012 season with the Canadiens.  He was the team’s points leader, scoring 33 goals and 32 assists, recorded his first career hat trick against the Islanders on February 9, 2012, and won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.  This award is given to a player who exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to the sport of hockey.” 

Max Pacioretty Contract

Having had such a phenomenal year, it was no surprise that he was offered and accepted a 6-year, $27 million contract extension with the Montreal Canadiens.   Oddly, right after signing this deal, Pacioretty found himself signing a contract to play overseas for a short time.  This was due to a labor lockout between the NHL and NHLPA, which saw the upcoming season being put on pause and ultimately having only half the games of a typical season.  The 2012-2013 season essentially never began (originally scheduled for an October 11 start) and resulted in a shortened season that did not begin until mid-January 2013.

Max Pacioretty

Max Pacioretty experienced perhaps his most unusual game in his NHL career on February 6, 2014 against the Vancouver Canucks.  He had 2 penalty shots awarded to him in this single game and missed both.  Despite these misses, Pacioretty still managed to score a hat trick during that game.

Pacioretty was named an alternate captain for the Canadiens at the start of the 2014 season.  The following season, he was named their team captain.

The 2017-2018 season was a bad year for the Montreal Canadiens and not a great year for Pacioretty himself either.  He saw only 37 total points after four seasons of recording 60+ points.  He also suffered a knee injury at the beginning of March that took him out for the rest of that season.

Rumors began to swirl about the Canadiens wanting to trade Max Pacioretty during the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, but sources claim he denied a move that would have landed him with the Los Angeles Kings.  He hired a new agent, but still revealed that he had had no talks with the club about extending his contract, so it very well looked to be his final year playing for Montreal.

In the 2018 offseason, Max Pacioretty was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights in a move that saw Tomas Tatar and Nick Suzuki head up to Montreal.  This was a blockbuster move for Vegas – they needed a power forward with experience, and Pacioretty had quite the resume of high-scoring seasons and the accolade of being a previous team captain.

As a member of the Vegas Golden Knights, Max Pacioretty has contributed to regular season scoring in major ways, with the 2019-2020 season being his most impressive stats – 71 games played, 32 goals and 34 assists.  The team has been to Stanley Cup Playoffs every year of their existence, and Pacioretty was part of 2 NHL Conference Final rounds, losing to Dallas in 2020 and quite ironically, Montreal in 2021.

Max Pacioretty

Max Pacioretty was signed to a 4-year $28 million contract extension with the Vegas Golden Knights and is considered very much a fan favorite.  He was chosen to represent Vegas on the NHL 2019 All-Star team in San Jose as well.   Pacioretty resides in Summerlin, Nevada with his wife of 10 year, Katia (whose brother is also a former NHL player) and their four sons and one daughter.

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