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NHL Pacific Division stronger with newcomers Pacioretty, Karlsson

 

Montreal Canadiens HeadshotsAs the summer wound down and NHL training camps kicked into high gear, the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights decided to make blockbuster trades within days of one another.

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First, the Golden Knights acquired Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty – and abruptly signed him to a four-year contract extension through the 2022-23 season – and then the Sharks added former Norris Trophy winner and Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson.

Both are excited to bring their games to the West Coast.

“When (Montreal) came here and we played them, it was one of the most amazing hockey experiences in my life,” Pacioretty said. “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a first-class organization that I’m proud to be a part of.”

“I feel I have the opportunity right now to just get back to what I loved doing as a kid, and that’s just going out there and having fun and playing hockey.”

Ottawa Senators headshotsFor Karlsson, in the last season of a six-year contract, a fresh start is just what he was looking for.

“I see this as an extremely motivating challenge to grow as a player and as a person,” Karlsson said. “I think, from everything so far, I’m going to have a great opportunity to do that here.”

Karlsson can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2019, but has not spoken publicly on the possibility of signing a long-term contract extension to stay in San Jose.

“That’s the big thing that’s resonated with me,” San Jose general manager Doug Wilson said. “He’s not worried about anything else. He just wants to get in and be a good teammate and get going.”

— Matt Mackinder

(Oct. 24, 2018)