The Pittsburgh Penguins play the Arizona Coyotes tonight and the two teams also worked out not one but two trades today. The first saw little-used forward Sergei Plotnikov sent to the 'Yotes for a 7th round pick and minor league player. The second trade, finalized right by the deadline shipped out Matia Marcantuoni to Arizona for 3 minor leaguers. And hey, what do you know, one of them is very familiar with the Pens! From the team:
The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired forwards Dustin Jeffrey and Dan O’Donoghue and defenseman James Melindy from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Matia Marcantuoni, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
The Penguins have re-assigned Jeffrey to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. O’Donoghue and Melindy have been re-assigned to Wheeling of the ECHL.
Jeffrey, 28, returns to the Pittsburgh organization for a second tour of duty after originally skating in 100 NHL games with the Penguins from 2008-13, tallying 15 goals, 13 assists and 28 points.
Marcantuoni was the first pick in the 4th round of the 2012 NHL draft, but he failed to gain much traction in the Pens organization. We had him at #25 the past 2 seasons in our annual summer Top 25 Under 25 list, saying last summer:
2015-16 will probably be a make or break year for Marcantuoni, who still is a very young player. If this player has any sort of longshot NHL potential, he definitely needs to make a big impression and carve out a serious niche in WB/S this season.
Unfortunately, it was break end of the spectrum, at least with the Penguins. Marcantuoni only played 17 games in the AHL this season (scoring 2 goals and 3 assists) and was again bumped at times to the ECHL, where predictably he was a point-producer with 7 (3g+4a) in 9 games. Perhaps a new organization gives Marcantuoni a fresh start or kick-starts his career, but it was pretty clear by now he was nothing more than an after-thought to make it to the NHL in this program.
Why did the Pens make this deal? Well, the minors could use it. David Warsofsky claimed by the Devils on waivers today, and young players like Scott Wilson, Bryan Rust and Tom Kuhnhackl are now ineligible for the AHL playoffs by not being on the AHL roster today (though the team did send down Conor Sheary today in likely a paper move to keep him eligible).