PITTSBURGH — The big trade finally went down midday Friday. The Pittsburgh Penguins dealt talented but struggling center Derick Brassard and fourth liner Riley Sheahan to the Florida Panthers in exchange for hulking center Nick Bjugstad and young defensive forward Jared McCann.
The Penguins also sent three draft picks to Florida.
Bjugstad and McCann may play Friday night against Ottawa. The pair is en route to Pittsburgh and the arena but the team is unsure if they’ll make it in time (as any Pittsburgher who has been stuck on the Parkway West in bad weather will attest, it could be a 30-minute drive from the airport or three hours).
“We think we got two very good players. Nick Bjugstad is a player who has shown he can score in this league,” said head coach Mike Sullivan. “We think he has more upside. He’s still young and brings size to our team.”
Bjugstad is 6-foot-6, 218 pounds. Last season he set a career high with 49 points (19g, 30a). He has recently been playing right wing in Florida.
Sullivan also expressed real respect for Brassard and came to the former Penguins centerman’s defense when asked why things didn’t work.
“To Brass’s [sic] defense, he was asked to play a role that’s different than he’s been asked to play in his career. He and I have had a lot of conversations over the last year on trying to help him establish his game,’ Sullivan said. “He’s a very good player. Make no mistake. Our expectations were so high because we value how good of a player he is.”
“Sometimes this happens. For whatever reason. I still have so much respect for Brass, the person, and the player that he is.” Watch the full Sullivan press conference here: