The Penguins traded Rem Pitlick to Chicago today.
The Penguins have acquired a conditional seventh-round draft pick in the 2026 NHL Draft from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward Rem Pitlick.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 6, 2024
The acquisition of the pick gives the Penguins nine selections in the 2026 NHL Draft.
On the surface, not a huge move. Pitlick has been in the AHL all season, where he was Wilkes-Barre’s leading scorer putting up 24 points in 32 games. The AHL was as far as Pitlick made it, Pittsburgh has already called up seven different forwards at various points during this season, but Pitlick was never one of them. His relatively high salary ($1.1 million) made that a challenge, but the team had plenty of temporary space to fit him while Rickard Rakell and later Bryan Rust were on long-term injured reserve and never was interest.
Given that Pitlick was waived on the first possible day back in training camp, never called up and moved now, his presence in the Pens’ organization was likely a condition from Montreal for their involvement in the massive Erik Karlsson three-team trade. Pitlick had previously requested a trade from the Canadiens after not finding a spot in the NHL, and must be thrilled to move onto Chicago.
The Blackhawks have a whopping EIGHT forwards on injured reserve now after having to add Connor Bedard and Nick Foligno to the list following last night’s game. Needless to say, they can use the extra help at the NHL level now. Pitlick has been able to put up some statistical production at the NHL level, but has bounced around largely thanks to defensive metrics that give back all the offense he creates.
For the Pens, they clear out an NHL contract for this year and are down to 47 out of the maximum of 50, giving them more flexibility at the trade deadline to bring in another player. And not that the current ownership or management seems to care with the high amount they’re spending on AHL salaries but they also clear the prorated part of Pitlick’s salary off their books too.
Conditions of the trade for the draft pick were not disclosed yet. Being as it’s a seventh round pick that won’t come due for two more years, that’s a modest and almost irrelevant aspect of the deal next to clearing a contract and saving some money on player expenses, while also doing right by Pitlick to let him go off to a team that can use him for an attempt to salvage what is left of his NHL future.