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Pens Points: Deadline Deals

Rutherford brings in defensive reinforcements at the deadline, while the Penguins prepare for their final push to the playoffs.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Time is of the essence for the Pittsburgh Penguins, as they currently sit outside a playoff position with just 20 games remaining in the 2018-19 season. If they hope to make the playoffs, then their push must start tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who look to be going all in for a run at the Stanley Cup.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and will be broadcasted on AT&T Sports Network.

Start your Tuesday with a new edition of Pens Points...

Just when it looked like the Penguins were going to stay silent on deadline day, general manager Jim Rutherford swooped in and pulled off a pair of trades that were not announced until after the deadline passed. In the first trade, the Penguins acquired defenseman Erik Gudbranson from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Tanner Pearson. [Pensburgh]

The Gudbranson trade was met with a strong pushback on social media and a quick check of the underlying stats shows why many do not like the acquisition. Speaking to the media late in the afternoon, Rutherford explained bringing in Gudbranson was about more than just his stats. [Pensburgh]

You’ll hear a lot about Erik Gudbranson and what he does (or doesn’t) bring to the team. Just on the surface, it has the look of a trade that makes no sense, where the Penguins may have been better off just sitting on their hands and letting the deadline pass. [Pensburgh]

Trade No. 2 of deadline day for the Penguins wasn’t announced until more than an hour after the 3 p.m. cutoff had passed. Bringing in another defenseman, the Penguins acquired Chris Wideman from the Florida Panthers for AHL regular Jean-Sebastien Dea. [Pensburgh]

Just because there may be a few big names available at the trade deadline doesn’t always mean acquiring them is the right move. Oftentimes, it is the smaller moves nobody talks about that make the greatest impact in the long run. [Trib Live]

Both Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin were absent from Penguins practice on Monday after being injured during Saturday night’s Stadium Series game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Evgeni Malkin also missed practice and Teddy Blueger has been sent down to the AHL. [Trib Live]

Although neither Letang or Dumoulin were on the ice for practice, Penguins fans can breathe a small sigh of relief after head coach Mike Sullivan revealed the team did not expect the injuries to be long term. However, both will miss tonight’s game against the Blue Jackets. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

News and notes from around the NHL...

A perfect week from Semyon Varlamov pushed the Colorado Avalanche back into playoff positioning and helped earned the goaltender NHL First Star of the Week honors. Coming in right behind Varlamov was Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers and fellow goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets. [NHL]

It was a busy NHL trade deadline day, with deals coming steadily throughout the day — including a flurry coming right at the cutoff and even more being announced well after the 3 p.m. deadline. Whether it was big or small names being dealt, plenty of teams stacked up for a playoff run. [CBS Sports]