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Penguins trade Jamie Oleksiak back to Dallas for 2019 fourth-round draft pick

Oleksiak is headed back to the Stars.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins have traded Jamie Oleksiak back from whence he came, sending the big defenseman back to the Dallas Stars. From the team release:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired a 2019 fourth-round draft pick from the Dallas Stars in exchange for Jamie Oleksiak, it was announced today by Penguins executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

The Penguins will now own three fourth-round selections in the 2019 NHL Draft - their own choice, the Buffalo Sabres’ pick and this pick acquired today, which originally belonged to the Minnesota Wild.

Last year, when the Penguins acquired Oleksiak from the Stars, the Pens traded a fourth-round pick to Dallas. That pick was going to be the higher pick between Pittsburgh’s original fourth-round pick and Minnesota’s fourth-round pick. Pittsburgh had acquired the Wild’s pick in a trade with the Arizona Coyote

Oleksiak was traded from Dallas to Pittsburgh just over a year ago in December 2017. The price then was also a fourth-round draft pick. That same pick has been around the block a bit, and with the decision to send Oleksiak back to the Stars, it’s as if the original trade bringing him to Pittsburgh last season never even happened. Consider his lap completed.

Oleksiak played well in 2017-18, earning a spot in the lineup through the rest of the season and eventually earning a three-year extension worth $2.1 million per season. This was a significant investment in the player and one the team hoped would take the next step, but that didn’t really happen in 2018-19, as Oleksiak struggled and eventually was relegated to healthy scratch status.

Oleksiak started out the season tremendously well, scoring seven points (three goals, four assists while averaging 16:26 per game) in the first nine games of the year in October. However, he dropped off drastically with just one point (an assist) in his last 14 games with Pittsburgh, falling into the 14-15 minute a night TOI range in the games he played (with only four games coming since December 20 due to injury and subsequent scratches).

Young players Juuso Riikola and Marcus Pettersson both seemingly passed up Oleksiak in the coach’s eyes, so moving him now makes a lot of sense. The Penguins have an excess of third pair-type players and anticipate a return soon (but not immediately) from Justin Schultz, which will be expected to bolster the defense. With that $2.1 million per year salary, Oleksiak represented a bit bigger of a paycheck than his current role, so now his career moves onto a place that obviously knows him very well in Dallas.