A three-team trade has been initiated.
The Penguins acquired Derick Brassard, Vincent Dunn, and a third round pick from the Ottawa Senators for a 2018 first-round draft choice, goaltending prospect Filip Gustavsson, and Ian Cole Friday evening. They have also sent Ryan Reaves and a fourth round pick to the Vegas Golden Knights and acquire prospect Tobias Lindberg from Vegas.
The Golden Knights will retain 40% of Brassard’s salary.
The Penguins have found their coveted center.
While Riley Sheahan has done nothing but meet, and exceed, expectations to this point, the main goal was to get deeper and the Penguins undoubtedly will do that now with the acquisition of Brassard.
Brassard is likely the biggest trade target on this season’s market outside of Erik Karlsson. The Penguins were able to get an advantageous deal and are happy. Let’s discuss it further.
What The Penguins Gain
Brassard is 30 years old and has 18 goals and 38 points in 58 games this season. He manned Ottawa’s second line for much of the season and did it in a capable fashion. He will slot into the third line and will reunite with good friend Carl Hagelin. Brassard and Hagelin were teammates with the Rangers and has been very good buddies there.
The depth was solidified for sure but let’s be truthful: Brassard was the sexiest option out there and may have made more sense than acquiring a depth center.
No one wants to picture Crosby or Malkin going down for any amount of time with an injury. But if something like that would’ve happened, Sheahan may not have been an adequate enough second line center. Carter Rowney certainly wouldn’t be ideal for anything more than a fourth line center.
The potential lines now for the Penguins will look something like this…
Some may argue that Rowney should be in over Kuhnhackl but I do not believe that is the Penguins’ best lineup.
They also gain two prospects in Dunn and Lindberg as well as a third round pick.
What The Penguins Lose
The Penguins started by shipping out a first round draft selection. The Penguins have yet to take a first round selection selection since 2013, which was Kasperi Kapanen. Jim Rutherford has little interest in using those on actual players as he’s all-in on winning at this juncture of his career.
Gustavsson was the Penguins second round choice in 2016 and is touted as a very talented and athletic goalie that could turn into a franchise goalie.
Obviously, the Penguins have Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry so they won’t be in need of Gustavsson within the near future. The Senators have Craig Anderson and Mike Condon on deals that will expire within the next two years so they get their goalie of the future.
The interesting piece in the deal is Cole. The Penguins will lose a huge shot-blocking presence who was a phenomenal penalty-killer. Brassard didn’t do much of that for Ottawa.
The likelihood Cole stays in Ottawa is very low as he is reportedly going to be flipped to a contender. On the slim chance he does stay in Ottawa, the Senators would get a good piece that can kill penalties and block shots.
With the acquisition of Jamie Oleksiak, Cole became a bit more expendable even though he is better than Matt Hunwick. Hunwick tentatively jumps into the Pens’ sixth defenseman role. They also have Chad Ruhwedel but it wouldn’t shock me to see the Penguins attempt to move Hunwick and bring in another body on defense. That move seems likely whether Hunwick is moved or not.
Reaves, a draft day trade, brought grit to the Penguins but never made a huge contribution offensively.
Certainly, no one should complain about this deal on either end. The Penguins get rid of a goalie who will be blocked for years to come and can become the Senators future in the crease. The Senators likely acquire a first-rounder that will come in 25th or even lower. The Penguins lose a valuable piece in Cole but to get, you must give. Reaves also will go in the trade.
The Penguins will become deeper with Brassard who has 420 points in his ten year career. They keep guys like Aston-Reese and Daniel Sprong who plan on being likely core parts of their team in the future.
They also add a few intriguing prospects in Dunn and Lindberg to their system while not having to give up a ton to acquire all of these pieces.