RALEIGH — The Hurricanes brought in Max Pacioretty this offseason to provide instant offense for a team with Stanley Cup hopes.
Carolina will probably have to wait until at least February to see if the veteran winger can provide some added scoring touch.
The team announced Tuesday night that Pacioretty tore his Achilles tendon and will undergo surgery on Wednesday in Raleigh. His recovery time is expected to be six months.
Pacioretty, 33, was acquired along with defenseman Dylan Coghlan from the Vegas Golden Knights last month for future considerations. The six-time 30-goal scorer has 323 goals and 642 points in 850 career regular season games with Montreal and Vegas.
The announcement of Pacioretty’s injury came the same day the Hurricanes seemingly finalized their roster by signing restricted free agent Martin Necas to a two-year, $6 million contract.
Now Pacioretty is destined for long-term injured reserve. The New Canaan, Connecticut, native would be due to come back in the second week of February if the six-month recovery holds. The Hurricanes are scheduled to hold their Stadium Series outdoor game against the Washington Capitals at NC State’s Carter-Finley Stadium on Feb. 18. Carolina’s regular season finale, at the Florida Panthers, is April 13, followed shortly thereafter by the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Pacioretty is set to cost $7 million against the salary cap this season in the final year of a four-year, $28 million extension he signed with the Golden Knights in 2018 that kicked in for the 2019-20 season. He played 39 games last season with Vegas, scoring 19 goals with 37 points.
Carolina will need to fill the void left by Pacioretty, whose presence was expected to soften the blow of the departures of Nino Niederreiter and Vincent Trocheck. It could provide a bigger opportunity for Necas, who struggled last year in his third NHL season. Newcomer Ondrej Kase, signed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract as an unrestricted free agent, could also see his role increased.
Stefan Noesen, Lane Pederson and Ryan Dzingel are among the veteran players who could see time in Raleigh during Pacioretty’s absence. The team also has several forward prospects who could push for a spot. The Hurricanes could use their new-found cap space to add another player, but the team will have to account for Pacioretty’s $7 million cap hit returning to the ledger late in the season.