Ex-Knight Pacioretty knows his role with Carolina


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Max Pacioretty has been an NHL player long enough to know what’s expected of him.

His new team, the Carolina Hurricanes, snatched him from the Golden Knights on Wednesday for his scoring goal, particularly his wrist shot which is a mix of laser speed and William Tell accuracy.

“My job is to get the puck in the net,” Pacioretty said in a virtual interview with members of the Carolina media on Thursday and posted on nhl.com. “I’ve done a really good job at that over my career. But as you get older, as teams get better, as goaltenders get better, as you get through the playoffs, it becomes increasingly difficult to do.

The Hurricanes missed the game-clinching goal, an extra offensive punch, coach Rod Brind’Amour said after his team was knocked out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the New York Rangers in seven games.

That’s why the Canes bolstered their offense on Wednesday, bringing in Pacioretty and highly skilled 2017 Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Brent Burns as part of a deal with the San Jose Sharks.

Both are older, but Pacioretty said both can offer depth, experience and hopefully just the right scoring touch that Brind’Amour believes is needed.

Pacioretty said he worked harder at his craft as he got older. He tried to be in better shape and smarter on the ice. He said it was especially important in the playoffs.

“They want someone to come help them put the puck in the net,” said the left-winger, who has six 30-or-more goal seasons, including 32 in 2019-20 with the Knights. “It’s so important in the playoffs that you have depth…Teams that win the Cup, you see they ride four lines.”

The Knights shipped Pacioretty primarily due to salary cap issues; he has one season left on a contract that pays him $7 million a year. But he also struggled with injuries; he’s been limited to 48 games and 39 games over the past two regular seasons.

The Golden Knights were hit hard with injuries last year, he said, calling this season “weird” for him and several of his teammates. But he fully recovered from a broken foot, hand bone injury and ongoing problem.

“I hope it’s in my past. I did everything I could to move on,” he said. “But as a group we had a lot of bad luck last year. Lots of goofy or clumsy injuries, and mine were no different from the rest of the guys in that sense.

He and Burns have had a history of altercations on the ice during the Knights-Sharks rivalry — “a lot of animosity” — but Pacioretty said he spoke with Burns on Wednesday night, and that won’t be an issue.

Former Knights coach Pete DeBoer and his assistant, Steve Spott, coached Burns in San Jose for several years. They told Pacioretty, “you’re gonna love this guy.”

The way Pacioretty figures, he goes from one good team to another.

“This team is so close,” he said of the Hurricanes. “Any way I can contribute…I’ll do whatever it takes.”

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