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.
The talented and versatile Max Pacioretty
could blossom into a viable fantasy option in his first full season in the NHL. (Photo: Richard Wolowicz/NHLI)
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.
Through nine games this season, Pacioretty looks like he is ready to make good on his potential in his first full season in the NHL. The Habs are off to a slow start but one of the few bright spots has been Pacioretty, who has arguably been the team’s best player. Pacioretty seem- to be clicking with linemates Andrei Kostitsyn
and David Desharnais
and after his three point performance Tuesday, he has compiled a stellar four goals, five assists and 39 shots.
The good news is that Pacioretty remains very much under the radar and is owned in just 20% of Yahoo! Fantasy leagues. In fact, some owners mistakenly dropped Pacioretty when it appeared that he was going to miss time due to injury. However, Pacioretty getting right back onto the ice and clearly looking no worse for wear will certainly generate more fantasy attention. Therefore, the time has come to go pick up Pacioretty off the waiver wire.
He will be a valuable addition to any roster in 12-team league formats or above. If you are in a deeper format and Pacioretty is already owned he may not be a bad player to target in a trade. Whether you can acquire him as a throw-in as part of bigger deal or nab him for a more prominent name with lesser talent, the key is to act quickly because it will not be long until the fantasy world takes notice of Max Pacioretty