The 2010-11 season was full of ups and downs for Max Pacioretty. At the
beginning of the year, he was quoted as saying he’d prefer to stay in Hamilton
if he couldn’t be a top-6 forward in the NHL. Eventually, he got to play
that role with the Habs and played well before suffering a season ending injury
vs Boston. Now that he’s healthy and likely to spend the full year in the
NHL, how might 2011-12 play out for the former 1st rounder?
Pacioretty got off to a blistering pace in Hamilton as he produced at over a
point-per-game pace for the first couple of months before getting a full-time
recall to the Habs. He got off to a bit of a slow start with Montreal but
picked it up in late January. Prior to his injury vs Boston, he had picked
up 17 points in his previous 19 games. Unfortunately, he was unable to
recover quick enough to play in the postseason.
Season Stats: 37 GP, 14
goals, 10 assists, -1, 39 PIMS, 7 PPG, 2 GWG, 112 shots, 15:53 TOI
Per-82 game averages
(Since Pacioretty is still too young to really look at 5-year trends, here
are his career numbers averaged out over an 82-game season.)
AHL (82 career games played):
Pacioretty’s best play came when he skated alongside Scott Gomez and Brian
Gionta and there is a good chance that he will once again play with those
veterans when the puck drops on the 2011-12 campaign. There is some
interchangeability on the left wing though with the addition of Erik Cole and
the dual-wing flexibility of Andrei Kostitsyn and Mike Cammalleri so Pacioretty
could see some time in the bottom-6. Pacioretty was proficient on the
powerplay last season (7/14 goals were with the man advantage) and he’ll have
every opportunity to improve those numbers next season.
As is the case with any player coming back from a lengthy injury, there are
concerns about if he’ll return to his previous effectiveness; that concern is
magnified given the concussion he had. That should scare some fantasy
owners away from snapping him up too early. Don’t reach for him as your
2nd line winger unless you’re convinced he’ll simply return to the form he was
at least season but if you can get him in the mid rounds as a 3rd liner, you’ll
have done well for yourself.