Max Pacioretty assisted on two goals scored by longtime linemates Steven Stamkos and Claude Giroux when the Inferno defeated Milan 6-3 on Sunday, but he won’t feed them any more passes.
About five hours after the game, it was announced that Pacioretty has been traded to the defending champion Moscow Spartak. Moscow gave up plenty to get him: prospect defenseman Darnell Nurse, who is averaging a point per game in juniors, as well as Spartak’s first-round picks in the next two drafts.
Moscow currently has a razor-fine lead in the tight race for the President’s Trophy. Paris, Athens, Berlin are right there with Spartak and Gothenburg and Belfast are within striking distance with about 24 games remaining in the regular season.
Among left wings, Pacioretty is the 10th leading scorer all-time in the EURO League. He has progressed steadily and matured with Stamkos and Giroux to the point where his best season last year included 42 goals scored and 95 points. He was also the starting left wing for the Southern Conference in the last two all-star games. This season, the 26-year-old has 28 goals and 58 points through 55 games. Moscow coach Joel Quenneville has inserted Pacioretty onto the team’s second line with Brandon Sutter and Aleksey Morozov and Nate Thompson is currently the odd man out of the talented forward corps in Moscow.
In Frankfurt, 30-year-Old Alex Steen takes Pacioretty’s place on the top line. Steen, a plus player throughout four seasons in Frankfurt is on pace to score more than 20 goals for the fourth straight season and he has played with Stamkos and Giroux before – in Season 1 when he racked up 59 assists and averaged 25 minutes per game.
The trade comes on the heels of an 8-player swap that sent Rick Nash and veteran defensemen Braydon Coburn and Fyodor Tyutin to 7th-place Edinburgh. In their first game with the Scots, Nash assisted on two third-period goals that lifted Edinburgh out of a 2-2 tie and defeated Gothenburg. That trade had a ripple effect in the league. To make room for the newcomers, Edinburgh had to waive defenseman Karl Alzner and forward Lauri Korpikoski. They lost both players to waiver claims. Alzner went to Stockholm resulting in Benn Ferriero being waived by the Eagles. And to get Korpikoski, Bratislava waived Martin Erat, who was scooped up by the Berlin Smurfs, who then waived veteran forward Shawn Horcoff.