It was late-breaking and the details were not yet known 40 minutes after the NHL trade deadline, but the Pittsburgh Penguins and GM Ron Hextall beat the NHL trade deadline and snagged Anaheim Ducks forward Rickard Rakell from the Anaheim Ducks for a pick and a prospect.
The final price was a 2022 second-round pick, a prospect, and a roster player. That player was Zach Aston-Reese.
And–as we await the NHL trade call, Bob McKenzie says Dominik Simon was also included.
UPDATE: Near 5:30 p.m. we learned the prospect was 2020 third-round pick, goalie Calle Clang. The 20-year-old Swedish goalie was named to Team Sweden for the 2022 World Junior Championships. He played in four games.
The trade appears to have been completed just before the 3 p.m. deadline. Pierre LeBrun was the first to tweet the pick is a second-round pick. The prospect has not yet been named.
Rakell, 28, is a pending UFA with a cap hit of $3.789 million. He has 28 points this season, including 16 goals in 51 games. His best seasons were 2016-17 and 2017-18 when Rakell snared 33 and 34 goals, respectively.
However, as Anaheim has declined, so too have Rakell’s numbers. In subsequent seasons, he has 18, 15, nine, and 16 goals. The 6-foot, 196-pound forward has played in the middle though gives Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan flexibility. He’s listed as a right-shooting LW.
Sullivan will have options if, or when, his team is healthy.
Penguins wingers Brock McGinn and Jason Zucker skated before practice on Monday morning. However, neither appeared close to rejoining the game-night lineup. McGinn skated only with one hand on his stick for most of the workout.
As soon as the prospect is named, PHN will update the story.
Rickard Rakell, Penguins Trade:
Rakell doesn’t pass up shots. He’s not a “hard” player. He just shoots. The Swede has 136 shots in 51 games, and one must assume with an elite center in the middle, that total will go up, not down.
He knows how to find the net, though he’s sagged in recent seasons as the Anaheim Ducks have slunk to the depths of the NHL standings. He’s versatile and can play multiple positions.
Folks in Anaheim tell us that his defensive game may have wavered in recent seasons, and the stats bear that out. He’s a minus-7 pm this season and minus-23 in his career. However, reports from Anaheim also say his game rebounded this season.
Rakell most likely slots beside Evgeni Malkin with Bryan Rust. When Jason Zucker is healthy, Sullivan will have a decision to place Rakell with Jeff Carter on the third line or keep him with Malkin.
It was a stout acquisition when it looked like nothing was happening. The first whispers of the Penguins interest were Tweeted by ESPN’s Emily Kaplan just 10 minutes before 3 p.m. PHN believes the first concrete report was from Elliotte Friedman, though Frank Seravalli reported the deal was in process.
This was Hextall’s second NHL trade deadline as Penguins GM. Last season, he snared Jeff Carter from the LA Kings for a pair of mid-round picks. Carter signed a three-year extension earlier this season.
A farewell to the most enjoyable and affable guy in the Penguins room. He had just two goals this season, but his defensive stats have few peers. He was second in the NHL with the fewest 5v5 goals allowed.
However, his offense lagged. Aston-Reese has 11 points (2-9-11) in 52 games. He set a career-high with nine goals in last year’s COVID shortened season.
The Penguins now have three players on LTIR: Jason Zucker, Brock McGinn, and newly acquired Nathan Beaulieu. According to Puckpedia, the Penguins were projected to be $1.7 million over the cap but had over $5.3 million in LTIR pool money.