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Penguins trade for Derick Brassard, Ryan Reaves sent to Vegas & Cole is Ottawa bound

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The trade is official: Derick Brassard is a Penguin, Ryan Reaves is going to Vegas and Ian Cole is off (temporarily at least) to Ottawa

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

What a whirlwind today has been. First news reportedly broke that the Pittsburgh Penguins nabbed one of the biggest names on the trade market in Ottawa’s Derick Brassard. Hours passed and it wasn’t confirmed, in fact the next reports were that the league vetoed the deal due to its terms.

Now, the teams have reworked it and it’s been approved.

To Pittsburgh:

-Brassard (60% salary, Vegas retains 40% of this year’s hit)

-2018 third round pick (OTT)

-Minor league forwards Vincent Dunn and Tobias Lindberg

To Ottawa Senators:

-2018 first round pick (PIT)

-2019 third round pick (PIT)

-goalie prospect Filip Gustavsson

-Ian Cole

To Vegas Golden Knights:

-Ryan Reaves

-Vancouver 2018 fourth round pick (from Pens)

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From the Pens website here’s a little more about the young players that the team got:

Lindberg, 22, has eight goals, 10 assists, 18 points and a plus-8 in 48 AHL games with the Chicago Wolves this year. Originally drafted by the Senators in the fourth round (102nd overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft, Lindberg has 25 goals, 43 assists and 68 points with a plus-26 in 148 career AHL contests with Chicago, Binghamton and Toronto. Lindberg stands 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and is a native of Stockholm, Sweden.

Dunn, 22, has split his third professional season between Belleville of the AHL and Brampton of the ECHL. The 6-foot, 190-pound Dunn was chosen by the Senators in the fifth round (138th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft.

They both seem like longshot NHL prospects, but Pittsburgh is an organization that lacks a lot of 20-24 year old forwards in their organization, so who knows what the future may hold. Lindberg does have 6 games of NHL experience with Toronto in 2015-16. Dunn is more an AHL/ECHL level guy who racks up penalty minutes and doesn’t seem like a high ceiling type of guy.

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Pittsburgh Penguins v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Sending Reaves ($1.1m cap hit) plus Cole ($2.1m) clears enough room for Pittsburgh to add the contract of Brassard ($5.0m cap hit) and getting Vegas to eat 40% of this season’s Brassard salary helps the cause as well. We’ll wait to see when the dust settles on what the experts like CapFriendly think the Penguins have for cap space but in theory it seems like more salary went out than came in.

What is the motivation for Vegas? Well they get a 4th round pick for free just for having Reaves on their roster for the rest of the season. Reaves is a UFA at year’s end. Not much a gain, but it’s a proactive add for them to get another asset when the alternative was they sit out and do nothing and earn nothing.

What’s in it for Ottawa? They get a first round pick (needed badly since they lost one in the Matt Duchene trade) and a top goalie prospect.

And how ‘bout the Pens? Loading up time, adding Brassard solves their center depth issues and makes them as strong or stronger on paper than they were with their forward group than the past two seasons.

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Did Pittsburgh pay too much? It’s the million dollar question, but it seems like the juice is worth the squeeze. Brassard is a legit quality center and he has a playoff resume of success with 55 career points in 78 career games.

Giving up the 2018 first hurts, but it’s almost expected at this point in the season. The Pens development of players has to count on late-bloomers and college UFAs (hello Zach Aston-Reese) more than blue chip teenaged prospects. It’s not ideal but certainly nothing new.

The loss of Gustavsson is very manageable considering the Pens have 23-year old Matt Murray as their starting goalie and 22-year old Tristan Jarry looking like he belongs as the NHL backup. Gustavsson was always a bit redundant since his draft day. His WJC performance was very impressive and his future looks bright. However nothing is less a sure thing than a goalie prospect and with two actual NHL goalies that are barely above legal US drinking age, it’s an area that Pittsburgh can comfortably move on from.

Reaves and Cole were periphery players on the depth chart and have been discussed ad nauseam. Cole was rumored to be in coach Mike Sullivan’s doghouse and was a healthy scratch at times this season and last, despite looking like a perfectly fine 3rd pairing defenseman on the ice. Reaves is the man who launched a thousand internet wars but also at over a million bucks on the cap and not a likely playoff roster so they might as well trade him at this point to add a more important player in Brassard.

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Draft future

After this trade, the Pens have the following picks in the upcoming years:

2018

  • 2nd round pick (PIT)
  • 3rd round pick (OTT)
  • 5th round pick (DET - acquired in Sheahan/Wilson deal)
  • 5th round pick (PIT)
  • 6th round pick (PIT)
  • 7th round pick (PIT)

2019

  • 1st round pick (PIT)
  • 2nd round pick (PIT)
  • 4th round pick (MIN)*
  • 4th round pick (PIT)*
  • 5th round pick (PIT)
  • 7th round pick (PIT)

*Note: Dallas will receive a 2019 4th round pick, whichever is higher (better) of the Minnesota and Pittsburgh pick as part of the Oleksiak trade.