The NHL's flat-cap reality is taking its toll on teams across the league.
The Vegas Golden Knights were the latest victim of the salary cap squeeze on Wednesday evening, trading forward Max Pacioretty and defenseman Dylan Coghlan to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for future considerations.
It's a head-scratcher without context, really.
Despite his advanced age and injury history, Pacioretty is still a money-in-the-bank 30-goal scorer when healthy, even chipping in 19 goals for the Golden Knights last season in just 38 games. Pacioretty was an extremely important player for Vegas both on the ice and off, and this trade will only add to the growing discontent in the organization about moving on from players far too soon.
With one year left on his deal at $7 million, Pacioretty was a pricey asset that the Golden Knights simply could not afford -- especially after the rumored extensions they are set to give to Rielly Smith and another UFA forward.
Still, to give up a player of Pacioretty's caliber for, quite literally, no assets just one summer after they did the exact same thing with the reigning Vezina winner Marc-Andre Fleury is a tough pill to swallow for Vegas. This organization has bled talent in the years after their miraculous run to the Stanley Cup final in their debut season and are paying the price for some aggressive roster building that may just set them back rather than push them forward.
To surrender Coghlan, a 24-year-old right-shot defender set to make close to league minimum this season as a sweetener is the kicker, as well.
The Golden Knights have a talented roster with some high-end stars. But their ability to retain talent and keep their team cap compliant for most of their existence is non-existent.