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Penguins trade: Josh Archibald, 6th sent to Arizona for Michael Leighton, 4th

The Penguins have made a minor trade, see what we think and how this could be setting the stage for the next move

Vancouver Canucks v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the holiday trade freeze which starts tonight at midnight with a trade with the Arizona Coyotes:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired goaltender Michael Leighton and a 2019 fourth-round draft pick from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for forward Josh Archibald, goalie Sean Maguire and a 2019 sixth-round draft pick, it was announced today by Penguins executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

The 2019 fourth-round draft pick acquired by the Penguins originally belonged to the Minnesota Wild.

Leighton, who is signed to a two-way contract worth $650,000 at the NHL level, will report to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the season.

Leighton, 36, has split this season between the Arizona Coyotes and Tampa Bay Lightning organizations, spending time at the AHL level with the Syracuse Crunch and Chicago Wolves. He has played in a combined 14 AHL games this year, going 4-4-4 with one shutout.

On it’s surface, weird deal - the Pens are giving up Josh Archibald (who has been stuck in waivers limbo all season and only appeared in 3 NHL games) and a 6th round pick for a 4th round pick, all in 2019 which is a long ways off. A slight upgrade but not much of a move. It also clears Archibald’s salary and roster spot off the books which were both negligible.

Then they get veteran goalie Michael Leighton (who GM Jim Rutherford has had before) basically for 24-year old goalie Sean Maguire. Maguire’s been mostly a 4/5 type guy in the organization and played more ECHL games than AHL, so at least this is a slight upgrade to get a 3 or 4th goalie in the organization in Leighton.

Leighton though is 36 and has only appeared in 7 NHL games since the 2010 season, so what purpose is he going to serve?

Odd trade to get a little better veteran goalie depth, but the clearance of Archibald’s salary and roster spot could be a primer for another more impactful NHL move to come....Stay tuned..