Pacioretty cruised through peaks and valleys to tie a career-high 67 points in 2016-17. Excluding the 2012-13 lockout year, it was his fifth consecutive season of 30-plus goals, as he amassed 35 in 81 games. He’s clearly the Canadiens’ most dangerous weapon, but it didn't look that way early, as Pacioretty had just five goals over the first 24 games despite Montreal racing out to a historic start. Four games later -- after the winger potted four at the Bell Centre against the Avalanche -- it was revealed that he played through a broken foot, which he referred to as an “adverse condition.” Still, Montreal’s captain scored 30 goals over the final 57 games, developing chemistry with Alexander Radulov and later Phillip Danault on the top line. With Radulov shuffling off to Dallas, head coach Claude Julien could promote Brendan Gallagher (career average of 0.57 points per game) to be Pacioretty’s right-hand man. Mad Max is bound to appease any fantasy owner in need of a low-maintenance forward.
Pacioretty led Montreal in scoring for a fifth consecutive season last year, registering 30 goals and 64 points – good enough to tie for sixth among left wingers in both categories. There was a perception that he was less productive, but he actually set a career high with 34 assists and his 64 points were just three fewer than his career mark from the year before. Of course, that perception may have been fueled by the Habs’ tailspin from December through the end of the season – and because Pacioretty had knocked on the 40-goal door in consecutive seasons prior to 2015-16. When he skated with playmakers, Pacioretty’s production was normal, but it fell off when head coach Michel Therrien had him lining up with the likes of David Desharnais and Dale Weise, as the coach tried endless combinations to spark a struggling offense. Over the final 22 games with center Alex Galchenyuk and right winger Brendan Gallagher, Pacioretty posted 23 points. If Therrien can resist the urge to tinker and keep that trio together, Pacioretty should be able to utilize his killer wrist shot enough to approach the 40-goal mark once again.
A knee injury suffered while working out in the offseason is expected to knock the start of Pacioretty's 2015-16 campaign off track, as he's projected to miss the entire preseason and perhaps a stretch of early regular-season games. Any length of absence is going to be hard on the Habs, as Pacioretty has been the team's primary goal scorer for the last four seasons, and he's kicked it up an extra notch in the last two, netting a total of 76 markers -- a whopping 21 of those the game-winning variety. Pacioretty was one of the biggest beneficiaries of Carey Price's incredible season, recording a plus-38 rating that was fully 30 points higher than his previous career best. He also set career highs with 67 points and 302 shots on goal last year. Once he's past this injury, Pacioretty should step right back into Montreal's first line and continue the prime of his career.
For a third consecutive season, Pacioretty led the Canadiens in scoring with 60 points, including a career-high 39 goals in his sixth NHL season. The club made a wise move a couple years ago when it inked Pacioretty through the end of the 2018-19 season. He's a high-volume shooter who improved his percentage from 9.2 percent in 2012-13 to 14.4 percent last season. He's learning how to score and scores in bunches. Before that contract runs out, he'll score 50 in a season. Pacioretty's set to open the season on the left wing of the first line.
Pacioretty led the Canadiens with 39 points in 44 games and tied for the team lead with 15 goals, making him the Canadiens' most prolific goal-scorer and point-getter the past two seasons. He was part of the first line that included David Desharnais and Erik Cole, a unit that Montreal could not live without in 2011-12. However, Cole look disinterested in his second season with the Canadiens and Desharnais was less effective, resulting in an early-season goal-scoring slumber for Pacioretty. Head coach Michel Therrien eventually found the right combination and MaxPac took off. He's a resilient player that plays through injuries and gets his shots on goal. He'll return as the team's top left winger and, with a developing core of offensive talent around him, Pacioretty should push for a 30-goal season.
Pacioretty overcame a scary injury in 2010-11 to lead the Canadiens in scoring last season with 33 goals and 65 points in 79 contests. The one constant head coach Jacques Martin or his non-Francophone replacement, Randy Cunneyworth, had was the fist line production from Pacioretty, David Desharnais and Erik Cole. Pacioretty and Desharnais have been together since their days in AHL Hamilton and continue to mix well. Pacioretty will remain on the left wing of the first line and is part of Montreal's young core. In leagues that reward shots on goal, Pacioretty carries more value than just the 30-plus goals most owners are expecting.
Pacioretty appears to have recovered from the serious injury he suffered in a collision with Boston's Zdeno Chara in March that left him with a cracked vertebrae and concussion. Perhaps you heard about it? The 22-year-old forward was called up in December and produced 24 points (14 goals, 10 assists) in 37 games before the injury. The Habs gave him a two-year deal this past summer and are penciling in MaxPac for first-line duty with Tomas Plekanec and Michael Cammalleri. Pacioretty has good size and is physical on the wing, and should be a top goal scorer for Montreal with ample time on the power play -- seven of his 14 goals last season were with a man advantage. There's real potential here for a breakout season.
The 20-year-old scored three goals and added eight helpers in 34 contests with Montreal last season. He should see more playing time this season with his added experience and the fact that the Habs lost their core forwards from last season. Don’t expect many goals from the former first round draft selection, who potted just six in 37 games with AHL Hamilton last season. However, he should continue to build on his rookie campaign from a season ago and improve his numbers with added playing time this season.
The 19-year-old Conneticut native has decided to turn pro after one year at Michigan, where he scored 15 goals and 39 points along with 59 PIMs in 37 games. Pacioretty's decision was made easier when he completely dominated the Canadiens' rookie camp in June. The team loves his physical game and they're in dire need of tough scoring wingers. Still the Habs will likely err on the side of caution and keep Pacioretty in Hamilton for his first year as a pro. Keeper league players should be putting this kid on their radars now.
If some prospects are rare then Pacioretty is steak tartare. He displays all of the potential of a future power forward -- he skates well, hits hard and has a quick release -- but he hasn't really been tested against high-level competition. We seem him as a guy who'll eventually control the game along the board and fit right into a cycling game. It's just going to take time. He's off to the University of Michigan for 2007-2008.