The Penguins wanted some type of bigger guy who isn’t afraid to impose his will and ensure the Penguins stars can feel a sense of protection. No, that doesn’t mean they wanted another Tanner Glass or Georges Laraque type of player who had no purpose other than fighting or taking cheap runs at players while playing fourth line minutes.
They wanted someone with some skill who could be a penalty killer and maybe score from time-to-time. So, what’s all the fuss about newly-acquired Ryan Reaves?
In St. Louis, Reaves was on a line with Marcel Goc, one of the more irrelevant Penguins of the last five years, and Steve Ott, basically another form of Glass and Laraque. Reaves managed 7 goals and 13 points on the campaign while not receiving a ton of ice-time per night. I think it is safe to say that Reaves will be matched with more skill-driven players in Pittsburgh.
The team had to part with Oskar Sundqvist and a first-round pick (keep in mind it was the last pick of the first round) to acquire Reaves. It may seem like a hefty price but the Penguins higher-ups had been rumored to be unhappy with Sundqvist and the progression he has gone through. They acquired someone who’s a proven bottom-6 forward to step in immediately and bolster some of what they lost in Chris Kunitz and Matt Cullen.
Here are some of Reaves’ highlights:
Not a bad playoff goal, huh? He’s even shown the Penguins before that he can score. Maybe it wasn’t the prettiest goal, but it counts.
He beat Matt Murray, barely, on a breakaway. I’m sure you have all seen this before…
Of course, after two years of being blessed with some of the best hockey in the 2000’s, the fans got a little upset with this move. Reaves, a perceived “tough guy” is seen as just another fourth-line plug, but I see value in this trade.
Lately, I’ve become a big Colin Cowherd guy. After the Isaiah Thomas for Kyrie Irving trade went down a few weeks ago that broke the NBA, Cowherd said that he thinks value in a trade is overrated. He would rather be the one getting the superstar (Irving) and not the value (Thomas and the rest of the pieces). He wants the best player in the trade because with “value” you can never guarantee it is going to be everything you had hoped.
Now, of course, I’m not suggesting that Reaves is a superstar in any matter. He is actually far from it. But, when you acquire a guy to fill a role for your team, does it really matter who or what you give up? We are trading for a role guy in Reaves, not the next Wayne Gretzky.
So, if he fills the role he is expected to fill, like I am confident he will do, then I don’t think anyone will really make a big fuss that Sundqvist and a first rounder were traded for a guy who can contribute in the right situation.
Honestly, can anyone really say that Sundqvist was ready for a third-line center role anyway?