Max Pacioretty was meant to be the Hurricanes’ big trade-deadline forward pickup this season.

He was meant to be an own-rental of sorts, as a pending unrestricted free agent who could pour in goals for one of the NHL’s top Cup contenders when he eventually returned from a torn Achilles tendon after missing the first part of the season.

It was a good plan, especially given that the Hurricanes got the veteran for free from the Golden Knights last summer.

And then he came back early, debuting Jan. 5, which surprised many, and scored three goals in five games. It all seemed on track.

Then, just an awful scene on Thursday, the 34-year-old Pacioretty falling to the ice and once again tearing his Achilles.

About as awful as one can imagine.

“That was the most somber I’ve seen a locker room after a game we won,” Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell told The Athletic on Monday.

“That was awful.”

Yes, you have to feel for Pacioretty. It was so hard to watch.

The business of the game goes on, though, as tough to digest as that injury was.