The Pittsburgh Penguins have struck again in the trade market, but this appears to be a minor level deal, acquiring forwards Riley Barber and Phil Varone from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for minor leaguers Joseph Blandisi and Jake Lucchini.
The Penguins have acquired forwards Riley Barber and Phil Varone from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Joseph Blandisi and Jake Lucchini.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 20, 2020
Barber and Varone will report to the @WBSPenguins.
Details: https://t.co/Vg08QMW2Ws pic.twitter.com/BvZf9xE6jw
This move doesn’t seem to be what was telegraphed by general manager Jim Rutherford with some recent comments that the Pens would seek a little more depth as they gear up for the stretch run and playoffs, since both Barber and Varone will go to Wilkes-Barre.
One cool thing is Barber, 26, is a Pittsburgh native. (We can claim Washington, PA as close enough to be Pittsburgh proper, right?). He’s spent most of his career with the Capitals’ organization but signed as a free agent in Montreal last summer in hopes of being in contention more for an NHL gig. He did get nine games with the Canadiens, but failed to record a point.
Varone, 29, has 97 career NHL games under his belt, though none this season.
Blandisi played 21 games with Pittsburgh this year, scoring two goals and adding three assists. He had some nice energy but was just a replacement level injury fill-in.
This deal doesn’t move the needle a ton and probably means more for the Wilkes-Barre push than anything else, but it would be interesting and a cool story if one day Barber could play with the NHL Pens.