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NHL Trade Deadline: Will Nathan Beaulieu be it for the Penguins?

It will likely be tough for Pittsburgh to make any further trades

Winnipeg Jets v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins made an early trade on Monday to add defenseman Nathan Beaulieu from the Winnipeg Jets. With the 3 pm Eastern trade deadline ticking ever closer, the team hasn’t completed any other deals as the league fires off the odd transaction or two per hour as the deadline heats up.

More activity may not be coming for the Pens, per what Team President Brian Burke said on television a little earlier. It also gives a clue about what is next for Beaulieu.

The only reason the Pens were able to add Beaulieu (for probably nothing, by the way based on the conditions of the trade) was that he is on long term injured reserve. By keeping him on LTIR until the end of the season, Pittsburgh can exceed the upper limit by his $1.25 million salary. In essence, this acquisition — much like the Jeff Carter trade at last year’s deadline due to Brandon Tanev going on LTIR for the rest of the regular season — was only possible with the salary cap due to the LTIR allowance.

Unlike Carter, however, Beaulieu is a good example of an extreme “break in case of emergency” type of depth. Teams can never get enough experienced defenders around spring time. Beaulieu offers that, even if he’s not a particularly good player by any means. He will likely be the number eight player where six are needed. There is a reason the Pens traded a conditional nothing pick for a nothing player, and didn’t use a second or third round pick to add defenders who have moved in recent days.

All along Burke and Ron Hextall have frequently repeated a general combination of setting trade deadline expectations at, “we really like our team, we don’t have cap space and we don’t want to give up our prime young assets”.

This still remains the case with this afternoon’s deadline looming. Unless the Pens plan or get an opportunity to change course and move a player with a salary, their hurdles to complete a trade deadline deal are still all in place. Time will tell what 3:00pm and just beyond brings of any late breaking transaction news, but this could be shaping up to be one of the quietest and least eventful/meaningful NHL trade deadline days in Pittsburgh in a long, long time.