Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford finally pulled the trigger. Minutes after announcing his contract extension, like Michael Corleone at his nephew’s baptism, changes were made and family was sacrificed. In this version, Rutherford shipped popular Penguins winger Carl Hagelin to Los Angeles for struggling winger Tanner Pearson.
Pearson, 26, is not the speed winger Penguins fans may have expected. In fact, Pearson isn’t a prototype of any sort. At 6-foot-1, 201 pounds, he isn’t physical but has dished over 100 hits in each of the past two seasons.
Pearson was passed over in the NHL Draft twice before becoming the L.A. Kings first-round draft pick in 2012 (30th overall).
An industry source close to the L.A. Kings said Pearson, “is a great kid. He could score 25 (goals) in Pittsburgh.”
However, the source also conceded Pearson, a left wing, has not been the same since he broke his leg three years ago and had ankle problems more recently. Fortunately, Pearson has played 79, 80 and 82 games in each of the past three seasons. So, durability is not a concern.