Was Max Pacioretty brought on to replace Anthony Mantha?

Max Pacioretty, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Max Pacioretty, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Capitals big move on the opening day of NHL Free Agency was adding Max Pacioretty. It was a big move but it was also questionable. Obviously his health is the big question.

He confirmed just as much to the media, saying that he will probably not be healed in time for opening night.

But when the event comes that Pacioretty is cleared to play, who comes out of the lineup?

If I had to guess it would be Anthony Mantha.

Now Mantha isn’t at a total disadvantage. Pacioretty still recovering from his injury buys Mantha time to get off to a hot start and put the pressure on the coaches and decision makers. But if Mantha is the same old same old then I could see Pacioretty in the third or second line spot where Mantha would be.

Mantha could then be bought out, traded or placed on waivers. Pacioretty is older than Mantha but he’s more proven. He’s a six time 30 goal scorer. His injury though is twice torn right achilles tendon which will make it tricky.

The Caps signed Pacioretty to a one year, $2 million deal plus an additional $2 million in performance bonuses.

Pacioretty told the media during his opening press conference:

"“This was a unique situation for me. I’ve never been a free agent before and obviously coming off an injury, there are a couple of scenarios (regarding) how I could have played it. At the end of the day, I just thought that Washington was a great opportunity for me to come back and prove that I’m still the player that I once was and I’m capable of going back and scoring the goals.”"

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Will Pacioretty be healthy enough for the Caps to part ways with Mantha if Mantha isn’t up to the task? That will be an interesting storyline to start the season.