Pacioretty and defenseman Dylan Coghlan were moved to the Hurricanes for future considerations, the teams announced.
Pacioretty, 33, played the last four seasons with the Golden Knights. He spent the first 10 years of his career with the Montreal Canadiens, who traded him to Vegas in 2019 for center Nick Suzuki, Tomas Tatar and a second-round choice.
Pacioretty scored 37 points in 39 games during an injury-plagued 2021-22 season as the Golden Knights failed to make the postseason for the first time. He had 97 goals and 97 assists in 224 games with the Golden Knights. He has one more year left on his contract with a $7 million salary-cap hit.
"Adding offensive firepower and improving our power play were priorities this offseason, and Max certainly checks those boxes," Carolina general manager Don Waddell said in a news release. "This acquisition gives us an elite scorer and another veteran voice in our dressing room."
Coghlan, 24, is entering his third NHL season having played 88 games. He had 19 points. He played two seasons with the AHL Chicago Wolves before that.
"Dylan is a young, right-shot defenseman who fits our system well," Waddell said. "We like his ability to take away time and space and play fast defensively."
In total, the Golden Knights saved $7.76M in cap space. Vegas was around $2 million over the salary cap and needed to give unrestricted free agent forward Reilly Smith a contract extension.
For the Hurricanes, Pacioretty gives them a veteran goal-scoring winger that their lineup needed. He's the second significant veteran player they added on Wednesday, having also traded for defenseman Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks.