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Pens sign Eric Fehr, trade Brandon Sutter to Vancouver

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Big bombshell today for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who make their team better, deeper and stronger.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Hold on to your hats, the Pittsburgh Penguins are making moves.

In big news, Brandon Sutter has been traded to Vancouver for forwards Nick Bonino and defenseman Adam Clendening and an exchange of draft picks. From the team:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired forward Nick Bonino, defenseman Adam Clendening and a 2016 second-round pick from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Brandon Sutter and a 2016 third-round pick, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

The second-round draft pick acquired by Pittsburgh is Anaheim’s 2016 second-round selection.

The third-round choice that Pittsburgh is sending to Vancouver is the compensatory pick awarded from Buffalo for hiring Dan Bylsma as head coach earlier this summer.

Bonino is signed through the 2016-17 season and carries an average annual value of $1.9 million. Clendening is signed through the ’15-16 campaign.

Bonino, an NHL veteran of five-plus seasons, played his first season with Vancouver last year, totaling 39 points on 15 goals and 24 assists in 75 games played. All three totals represented the second-highest offensive numbers of his career. He added three points (1G-2A) in six playoff games.

Bonino, 27, helped Team USA win a bronze medal at the 2015 World Championship, contributing four points (2G-2A) in 10 games.

The Pens quickly moved to replace Sutter by signing free agent forward Eric Fehr. From the team

The Pittsburgh Penguins have agreed to terms with forward Eric Fehr to a three-year contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

The deal runs through the 2017-18 season and has an average annual value of $2 million.

Fehr, 29, has played most of his 10-year NHL career with the Washington Capitals. He posted 19 goals, 33 points and a plus-8 in the 2014-15 campaign with Washington. His goal total was the second-highest mark of his career.

The 6-foot-4, 212-pound center was a key member of the Capitals’ penalty kill unit in ’14-15, logging 1:23 shorthanded minutes per game. The defensively reliable center won a career-high 52 percent of his faceoffs.


Breakdown

This is pretty much a best case scenario. Fehr and Sutter are very similar players: they're both tall, non-physical, right handed centers that are above average in faceoffs, and usually score 20g- 15a in a season. They even both wear the #16. The Penguins switch the two out and save $1.3 million to the cap due to Sutter making $3.3 and Fehr signing for $2.0.

Fehr also has a huge advantage over Sutter: he drives play and possession a heck of a lot better.

Add in Nick Bonino (a solid NHL player) and Clendening (a good prospect who can skate and move the puck) PLUS an upgrade from a 3rd round pick to a 2nd round pick, and it's all coming up roses. We'll of course have plenty more analysis and what this means for the roster in the very near future.