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Penguins Non-Tender Lauzon, Reaves Trade Officially a Bust



Zachary Lauzon Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins officially have nothing to show for the trade which brought Ryan Reaves to Pittsburgh in June 2017. Saturday, Pittsburgh Hockey Now learned the club non-tendered 2016 second-round pick Zachary Lauzon, whom they selected with the pick acquired in the Reaves deal.

The Penguins were forced to let the concussed Lauzon walk. Lauzon, 20, did not play this season as concussion symptoms have potentially ended his career. In 2017-18, Lauzon managed only 25 games in the QMJHL and tallied just four assists.

Sometimes life doesn’t adhere to the best-laid plans of mice and men. Fresh from their second consecutive Stanley Cup championship, the Pittsburgh Penguins decided they needed to add some toughness. They had just been beaten, battered and pummeled on their way to the Stanley Cup and management concluded another such assault would prevent a third Stanley Cup.

The Penguins were pounded through the regular season and in the playoffs and had little capability to pushback without star players doing their own dirty work. So, at the 2017 NHL Draft, General Manager Jim Rutherford pulled the trigger on a draft floor trade. The Penguins acquired tough guy Reaves from the St. Louis Blues and their mid-second round pick (51st overall) in exchange for middling prospect Oskar Sundqvist and the Penguins first-round pick, which was No. 31 overall.

Reaves didn’t stay for a full season with the Penguins while Sundqvist spun his wheels for a season but has become a fourth line force for St. Louis this season.

The Penguins used the acquired pick (51st overall) to select the defensive defenseman Lauzon of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. St. Louis used the 31st pick to snag Russian offensive Moscow Dynamo forward Klim Kostin.

The offensively talented Kostin was the talk of St. Louis Blues training camp last fall. His potential had tounges wagging and eyes popping. He also played for Team Russia in the past two World Junior Championships.

On paper the deal made sense, but in real life, the trade didn’t pay dividends and it got worse Saturday. As of 5 p.m. Saturday, the trade officially became a bust as the Penguins declined to sign the last remaining asset.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Nicholas Wetzler
Nicholas Wetzler
2 years ago

Saying it “looked go on paper” is absurd. Attempting to add “grit” to a team who steamrolled the entire NHL with speed and tenacity on the forecheck was also absurd. You cant polish a turd, and that’s what this move, and quite a few other recent GMJR moves have been….turds. it’s quite possible HCMS is the issue, and personnel isnt being utilized appropriately, but it’s still a failure in the end.

2 years ago

That trade was definitely bad from the get go.

Rich Filardi
Rich Filardi(@richi81)
2 years ago

Hey Dan- have to respectfully disagree – that trade never made sense – Reaves was never going to fit into the plans, was always a contrast to the style they played. This further solidifies a flag placing moment in the downturn of where they are today!

Matt Luda
Matt Luda
2 years ago

I liked the move originally, but that was on the assumption that Sullivan fully supported it. Obviously, he wasn’t convinced because Reaves never had a consistent role. Bad idea for a GM to force personnel on his coach.

2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Luda

Bad idea for the Coach to refuse to play “very necessary” personnel, and rather let his players get pounded around, and his stars be prevented from playing their game, because of goons on other teams. Unfortunately most people weren’t able to see the full value of having Reaves on the team (and on the bench), and that includes his Coach (especially his Coach)! Denial can be a terrible thing!

2 years ago
Reply to  JICS

Ummmmmm…huh? Sorry, can’t tell if that was sarcasm or being serious.

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