The 26-year-old former Michigan player joins Brian Gionta (2010-14) and Chris Chelios (co-captain with Guy Carbonneau in 1989-90) as the only U.S. captains.
"To have the support of my teammates, I'd put it up there with the top feelings in my life," Pacioretty said. "I've played with two captains here, Brian Gionta and Saku Koivu. I'll think back on how they handled situations and use that."
Pacioretty opened by reading a statement in French. He has been taking French lessons and hopes to master the language spoken by most of the team's fan base within a few years.
"It's very important for me," he said. "This is my home now. Me and my family take it very seriously."
The Canadiens are going with a single captain this season after going with four alternates last season in Pacioretty, Plekanec, Markov and Subban.