Talk about a turn of events. All but ruled out for Wednesday’s game against Philadelphia with an upper body injury, forward Max Pacioretty made an unexpected return to the lineup and scored a pair of goals, added an assist and was a plus-3 while leading the struggling Montreal Canadiens to a much needed win.
Pacioretty’s gutsy effort will surely grab the headlines in Montreal but fantasy GMs need to take notice as well. Most of the hockey world knows Pacioretty best for the controversial hit he took from Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, in which he suffered a severe concussion and a fractured vertebra. The Chara hit cost Pacioretty the final 14 games of the 2010-11 season and forced him to miss the Canadiens' first-round playoff series loss to Boston. But Pacioretty has returned to the ice this season and could be poised for a breakout year with the Habs.
If healthy, the 22nd overall pick of the 2007 Entry Draft could blossom into the rare type of multidimensional forward who can contribute to a variety of fantasy categories. He is a big body who plays physical, possesses a scoring touch and at just 22 years old, is just going to get better and better. In just 37 games last season, Pacioretty had 14 goals and 10 assists while firing 112 shots and amassing 39 PIMs. Over a full season, that translates to the type of production across the board that makes fantasy GMs salivate.