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Penguins Trade! Deal Brassard, Get Bjugstad--Full News & Analysis
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Penguins Trade! Deal Brassard, Get Bjugstad–Full News & Analysis

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OTTAWA, ON - DECEMBER 08: Pittsburgh Penguins Center Derick Brassard (19) waits for a face-off during first period National Hockey League action between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators on December 8, 2018, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire)

The shoe finally dropped. Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan are on their way to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a large center the Pittsburgh Penguins have coveted for two years, Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann.

The Penguins also sent a 2019 second-round pick and two fourth-rounder picks to Florida in the deal.

Bjugstad, 26, is signed through 2021 with an average annual cap hit of $4.1 million. McCann will be an RFA after next season. His cap hit is only $1.25 million. The deal is nearly a salary neutral, as Brassard’s cap hit is only $3 million (Vegas is paying an additional $2 million) and Sheahan’s cap hit is $2.1 million.

Both Brassard and Sheahan are set to be unrestricted free agents on July 1. Brassard was acquired from the Ottawa Senators at the 2018 NHL trade deadline. Actually, Brassard was acquired after the deadline as the NHL rejected the initial three-team deal between the Penguins, Ottawa and Vegas. The final deal included the Penguins sending Ryan Reaves to Vegas and Ian Cole, goalie prospect Filip Gustavsson and a first-round pick to Ottawa. Other picks and minor leaguers also changed hands.

This season, Bjugstad has 12 points (5g, 7a) in 32 games. The 6-foot-6, 218-pound center is able to play a low-game which the Penguins feel is their new identity. Bjugstad was the Florida first round pick (19th overall) in 2010.

Bjugstad, 26, has been playing right wing in Florida after the recent return of Vincent Trocheck.

McCann, 22, has been Florida’s fourth line center this season. He was a Vancouver first round pick in 2014 (24th overall). This season, McCann has 18 points (8g, 10a) in 46 games. The 6-foot-1, 198 pound forward has averaged over 14 minutes of ice time per game.

The Penguins also included Sheahan in the deal. Sheahan signed a one-year contract before the season. He had only nine points (7g, 2a) in 49 games.

Trade Analysis

Sources have long told Pittsburgh Hockey Now the Penguins coveted Bjugstad and have made repeated inquiries about his availability but Florida GM Dale Tallon maintained a high price. Sources told Pittsburgh Hockey Now that Bjugstad was on the Penguins short list to replace Nick Bonino as the Penguins third line center in the summer of 2017.

The Penguins got younger, larger, and added more offensive production to their lineup. Call this a big win for the Penguins, and perhaps Florida, too.

Perhaps Florida will make an effort to keep either Brassard or Sheahan, or perhaps they needed monetary relief to pursue free agents such as Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky this summer. Florida has been rumored to be interested in both.

Bjugstad will play well in the physical, Metro Division battles against Washington and Columbus. Very well.

For the Penguins, Sheahan had found a home as the fourth line left wing, but he was not irreplaceable. With McCann, the Penguins acquired a 22-year-old former first-round pick who is solid defensively and has playmaking skills. The book on McCann is that he is good away from the puck, which could play very well with the Penguins improvisation abilities.

Brassard just never fit. Ever. So, even though Brassard is a more talented center, Bjugstad is a better third line center and that should greatly help the Penguins. The interesting thing will be McCann and where he fits.

And Teddy Blueger fits into the puzzle somewhere, too. The Penguins traded a pair of players near 30-years-old and got younger.

 

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. T

    February 1, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    Columbus asked about Brassard – but JR would never trade with them directly – Florida wants the Bread Man and this might help them get him!

  2. Ricardo58

    February 1, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    As a fan, I’m trying to get on board. I guess a win is neither acquired is a UFA. The Big Rig was traded to get the 4th back in return I think. I know salary cap issues play in but these 2 newly acquired players for Brass, Sheahan and Big Rig plus a 2nd and another 4th? Like I said, I’m trying to buy in.
    I feel the deal is a lil underwhelming. Time will tell.

    • Nick

      February 1, 2019 at 3:18 pm

      I was hoping for a big name, Duchene or similar, but it seems like (at least lately), these kind of trades (bottom 6 young talent) are the ones that really make a difference. I think one thing this team is DESPERATELY missing is young, fast, and emotional F’s in WB/S that can come up and create a spark ala Talbot, Farnham, Sheary, JG etc. Prior to this trade this was a team of veterans who seem to only get up for big games, and get slower every day. Leadership is important, but so is a little bit of piss and vinegar and guys looking to prove something. Idk if this gives the Pens that exactly, but I do think adding youth, size, and speed is the right direction. I actually liked both Brass and Sheahan, but this team was not a legit contender as-is (or as-was), and I can live with losing those two pieces.

  3. Matt Luda

    February 1, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    GMJR probably isn’t done yet, especially if Bjugstad doesn’t cut it on the third line. Still have Maatta, Simon and Jarry as trade bait.

    • Nick

      February 1, 2019 at 4:48 pm

      If Bjugstad doesn’t “cut it” as the 3C by the trade deadline then this would be an incredibly stupid trade. No way they make another move in the next 3 weeks to fill the same hole they just tried to fill. Also, I’m no Maatta fan, but they’re not going to (and shouldn’t) trade him. Otherwise, none of the players you mentioned have any trade value. I’d say there are no more trades of any significance coming unless they go on a losing streak and a major piece gets moved, which is highly unlikely.

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