The Penguins quickly made another move, Tuesday. They sent a conditional 2019 fourth-round selection to Dallas for a hulking defenseman, Jamie Oleksiak.
Oleksiak, 24, takes up significant ice at 6′-7″, 255 and has tremendous reach. According to scouting reports, Oleksiak is mobile for his size but not a thumper, though he has accrued eight fighting majors in 140 career NHL games.
Oleksiak first entered the NHL in 2012, with the Dallas Stars. He was as the Stars 2011 first-round selection (14th overall). He played 16 games in 2012-13 and recorded two assists.
Oleksiak played a career-high 41 games for the defensively challenged Dallas Stars last season. He scored seven points (2g, 5a) and 37 penalty minutes.
He has been a healthy scratch in 13 games this season, including the last four. The Toronto born defenseman is on a 1-year, $964k contract and will be an RFA after this season.
Little ventured, a lot to gain.
Oleksiak moves well enough for a giant, which should bode well for the Penguins in front of their net–if he can crack the lineup. The Penguins crease has been a welcome mat for opponents. Also, with eight fighting majors, Oleksiak’s presence could allow the Penguins to maintain the enforcer presence they enjoy with Ryan Reaves, but add more speed or production to the fourth line.
It isn’t inconceivable the Penguins rotate Oleksiak and Reaves, at least until Justin Schultz returns. Oleksiak is a solid depth defenseman, and the Penguins gave up little to get him. It is a shrewd move which can only pay dividends.
Perhaps Penguins assistant coach Sergei Gonchar can continue Oleksiak’s development, as well. He moves well enough to play in the NHL.
The Penguins signed a pair of physical defensemen this summer, Zach Trotman and Jared Tinordi. This move dovetails with those. However, Oleksiak has more NHL experience and perhaps better feet.