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PHN’s Penguins, NHL Trade Deadline LIVE Blog; Penguins Get Rakell!



Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL trade, Rickard Rakell

Cranberry, Twp — The Pittsburgh Penguins and GM Ron Hextall got a jump on the rest of us by executing an early morning trade before the sun peeked over the Appalachians. The Penguins acquired depth defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, who is on LTIR, but a solid depth piece willing to drop the gloves a few times per season. And just like that, the NHL trade deadline day was underway.

This is the PHN live blog. We’ll be detailing all of the trades with analysis throughout the day. We’ll even do a live video chat after the deadline if I’m not exhausted, but the Penguins will get a say in that matter pending when GM Ron Hextall speaks today. In the past, late deals have pushed GM availability to well past 4 p.m.

The Penguins trade for Beaulieu does swing the door wide open for additional moves. The Penguins acquired additional LHD depth. They also have plenty of LTIR pool money and have all day to spend it.

The trade went down around 5:30 a.m. I’ll ask again. Besides my 70-year-old father, who has awoken every day of his life at 5:30 a.m. with or without an alarm clock, who in the world is up at such an ungodly hour? When my alarm went off at 6:30, I had to write the original story in pajamas with one eye open.

As noted, the prices on the NHL trade market softened on Sunday. Former Norris trophy-winning defenseman Mark Giordano “only” cost Toronto a pair of second-round picks. Also, as noted on Sunday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins might be interested in Detroit Red Wings LHD Nick Leddy.

Let the PHN Pittsburgh Penguins NHL Trade Deadline live blog begin!

Penguins trade analysis of the Beaulieu at the bottom.

THE PENGUINS GOT RAKELL. Breaking Penguins trade story here.

After 3 p.m: Did Ron Hextall pull a buzzer-beater? Jeff Marek and Frank Seravalli say the Pittsburgh Penguins MAY have gotten Rickard Rakell. Hold onto your butts.

Yes–The Penguins dealt a second-rounder, Zach Aston-Reeser, Dominik Simon and a prospect (yet unknown) for Rakell.

Carolina kept pace with the New York Rangers and Penguins. They snagged Max Domi. That deal, like the Penguins’ Rakell deal is in the cue of 33 trades being processed by the NHL.

2:57: The Rangers get plugger Tyler Motte, too.

Tick-tock Clarice! The lambs are screaming.

2:52: Eight minutes to go. The Rangers’ late push for Andrew Copp was successful. The trade is being completed. Not sure who was first.

Andrew “the Hamburglar” Hammond is also headed to New Jersey. Uh, OK?

2:47: The Rangers are after both Andrew Copp and Tyler Motte.

Copp would make the Rangers–one of the worst teams for getting chances in the slot–much better.

2:44: 15 MINUTES!  The Rangers traded Anthony Bitetto to the Sharks for Nick Merkley.

2:32: The Winnipeg Jets are stocking up for their playoff push. They coughed up a fifth-rounder to Ottawa for Zach Sanford.

Truth be told, I expected Sanford to land with the Penguins. I don’t get that move by WPG. They’re less than likely to make the playoffs.

2:23: The Colorado Avalanche also snagged Andrew Cogliano from San Jose for a 2024 fourth-rounder.

2:12: The Capitals also acquire Johan Larsson. He’s a big center, doesn’t score much (126 points in 474 career games), but otherwise, I don’t know much about him. Played with Arizona. So, good for him.

Washington coughed up a third-round pick.

2:02: ONE HOUR TO GO! Multiple sources reporting the Colorado Avalanche dealt highly though-of prospect Justin Barron AND a second to Montreal for Artturi Lehkonen.

WOW–that’s theft by Montreal. Absolute holy (expletive deleted) theft at the NHL trade deadline. But Colorado will be better for THIS playoff run. Lehkonen will be a good scoring grinder for them.

UPDATE: Montreal also kept 50% of Lehkonen’s $2 million salary. Wicked good move by new GM Kent Hughes, who is on fire up there.

2:00: Kevin Weekes and Frank Seravalli simultaneously reported that Nick Leddy is headed to…drum roll…wait for it…it will be legen…wait for it…dary. The St. Louis Blues are in the process of acquiring Nick Leddy.

Sorry, you thought I meant the Pittsburgh Penguins?

St. Louis sent a second-round pick, Oscar Sundqvist, and RW Luke Witkowski to Detroit for Leddy and Luke Witkowski.

1:55: Emily Kaplan of ESPN dropped a little heartbreaker to many Penguins fans. The New York Rangers and Vegas Golden Knights might steal the apple of Penguins fans’ eyes. Kaplan says both are in advanced talks for Anaheim Ducks forward Rickard Rakell.

1:49: More division rivals making a swap. Minnesota and Chicago swapped for Fleury. Rangers picked up Flyers D-man Justin Braun. Now Boston and Ottawa. The Bruins acquired depth forward Josh Brown and a conditional 2022 seventh-round draft pick for Zach Senyshyn and a 2022 fifth-round pick.

1:45: I’m not slacking, there’s just nothing but idle speculation.

1:18: Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now–who is as plugged in as anyone–reports the LA Kings and two other teams are chasing Jake DeBrusk before the 3 p.m. deadline. Boston Bruins trade chatter.

12:50: Jeff Marek delivers the news–the New York Rangers snagged Flyers defenseman Justin Braun. That will make them instantly tougher to play against.

12:42: The Edmonton Oilers did the Penguins a favor. Edmonton snagged defenseman Brett Kulak from the Montreal Canadiens. The Washington Capitals were thought to be in on Kulak.

How’s this for a brutal prank. Former Penguins winger Ryan Malone shared the gory details of when they messed with Colby Armstrong, only for it to make them all feel bad:

12:34: Jeff Marek says teams are offering second-round picks for Andrew Copp in WPG. Friedman says teams are waiting on Rickard Rakell..

Heck, I cannot say the Penguins aren’t one of those teams chasing either player, but it would surprise the daylights out of me if Hextall went that big for Rakell at the NHL trade deadline. Previous suggestions were Rakell could cost a first-rounder. Copp, however, at a second? That seems more digestible.

12:18: Thanks to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News–I could see Burkie on the TV here at the UPMC Lemieux Complex, but couldn’t hear it. Here’s the quote that signals the Penguins are being CAUTIOUS:

12:08: Per Luke Fox, Maple Leafs practice is underway without Rasmus Sandin or Ondrej Kase. (Kase took a scary hit to the head Saturday.)

12:00: Zdeno Chara, Nick Leddy, and maybe Tyler Bertuzzi are still floating out there. Just saying.

Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now (and Montreal, too), says he continues to hear the LA Kings want DeBrusk.

It’s impossible to know what the Penguins have on the burner, but like you, I’m expecting a defenseman to be dealt in exchange for a forward. Otherwise, the Beaulieu trade was probably a bit of a waste.

11:49: NHL Trade rumors–According to Russ Joy, who writes much of the gambling content for Pittsburgh Hockey Now, but is a reporter who covers the Philadelphia Flyers, the Blues and Flyers might have a little something cooking.

Follow Russ on Twitter here.

11:36: With the acquisition of Fleury, the Minnesota Wild dealt goalie Kaapo Kahkonen to San Jose. He was pulled off the ice in the middle of the optional skate. Per Michael Russo of the Athletic, Guerin is working on recalling a goalie from Iowa in case Marc-Andre Fleury can’t back up Cam Talbot tonight.

Russo is a good dude. Better reporter. That’s the analysis.

Oh–this just in: Minnesota ALSO gets a fifth-rounder in the deal. Guerin putting on a clinic. Get the San Jose Sharks perspective

WOW–Minnesota gets tough defenseman Jacob Middleton, who was the object of a few teams’ desires, including the Boston Bruins.

11:23: Per Samantha Pell of WaPo, the Capitals deal for MoJo will send Daniel Sprong and picks to Seattle for Johansson. Sprong has been a healthy scratch and will join his third NHL organization since the Penguins dealt him to Anaheim for Marcus Pettersson in 2018. Washington Hockey Now has more on the Capitals trade.

The deal is Sprong, a fourth and a 2023 sixth for Johansson. Credit to Pell for both scoops.

Seattle also kept 50% of Johansson’s salary. Pretty darn good deal for Washington. I’ll give that an A+.

11:11: Rumors abound (first actual reported trade by Elliotte Friedman), former Penguins AGM, and current Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin will acquire Marc-Andre Fleury from the Chicago Blackhawks for a second-rounder. Frank Seravalli said the pick could become a first-round pick.

UPDATE: LeBrun says it’s a conditional FIRST rounder. Whoa boy, that’s a good get for Chicago.

10:55: Chris Johnston reports the deal is done. The Washington Capitals have re-acquired their MoJo. Marcus Johansson is on his way from Seattle back to the Washington Capitals.

–Love the deal from the Capitals’ perspective. Johansson finds a way to fill the net when it matters. Awaiting word on the return. I’ll guess a second-rounder.

10:50: per Kevin Weekes on Twitter, the Arizona Coyotes will acquire Bryan Little’s contract from the Winnipeg Jets. Little makes $5.29 million for two more years, but his playing career is overdue to injuries. Yep, Arizona 2023 Stanley Cup!

Someone stop the fight, please? Arizona amassing dead money so they hit the cap floor without actually spending to the cap floor. It’s embarrassing.

Nathan Smith, an unsigned collegiate player soon to be a free agent, is also headed to Arizona, which gives back a fourth-rounder.

10:45: Clayton Phillips, the Penguins 2017 third-round pick who has bounced around college hockey a bit, finally signed a PTO with the WBS Penguins. Phillips has not attended Penguins training camps or rookie camps in a few years. He’ll report to WBS after three seasons at Penn State. He began his career at Minnesota and had to sit out after transferring.

In 124 collegiate games, the native of Edina, Minnesota registered 38 points (11-27-38).

10:40: This one slipped past in the morning, and is likely just a paper move. Radim Zohorna was sent to the AHL. On paper. The move will allow him to play in the AHL playoffs should they go longer than the NHL playoffs. It also opens a roster spot should GM Ron Hextall snag another body.

10:30: The Flyers special assistant Danny Briere dismissed a report that Claude Giroux wanted assurances he could re-sign in the summer, but when GM Chuck Fletcher declined to provide that, Giroux would only accept a trade to Florida. Briere said, “that’s funny.” The Philadelphia Flyers drama from Philly Hockey Now.

10:20: Shocker! Jake Debrusk signed a two-year deal with the Boston Bruins. DeBrusk has been firm with his trade request, so signing a two-year deal comes as a bit of a surprise, but in the context of a trade, it probably helps. DeBrusk was due a substantial qualifying offer. Boston Bruins news.

–DeBrusk signed for two years, $4 million. That’s very affordable, and yes, a lot of teams should come running. After a hot streak to end February in which he scored nine points (7-2-9) in five games, he’s gone ice-cold again. DeBrusk wants out, he hasn’t played with the heart or jam that we saw in the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Hockey Now network was told by sources that DeBrusk’s agent was given permission to sign an extension to work a trade.

10:15: Darren Dreger on TSN reports the Arizona Coyotes have jacked up the price for Jacob Chychrun, and I mean jacked it up like gas prices.

The NHL Watcher Twitter account quotes Dreger as saying Arizona wants two, maybe three first-rounders AND a prospect. A few weeks ago, the ask was one first-round pick, either a top-six forward or top-four defenseman, and two prospects.

Truthfully, I think Arizona is trying to raise the price, but I’d deal two first-rounders before I parted with one and a top-six forward.

10:06: The Ottawa Senators sign Anton Forsberg to a three-year extension with a $2.75M AAV. One must wonder what that means for the future of the injury-prone Matt Murray, who has two years remaining on his deal.

Murray had a resurgent second half until another injury derailed him. Ottawa is a scrappy, fun team that could use steady goaltending. They could be playoff-worthy next season, but the Atlantic Division is now on the other side of ridiculous with Florida, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Boston. Perhaps five Atlantic teams make the playoffs, instead of five Metro teams for once?

If the Senators buy out Murray in June, it will cost them about $7.5 million spread over four years. They would eat $1.75 million next season, $750,000 in two years, then $2.5 million in successive years, according to the CapFriendly buyout calculator.

9:42: According to our colleagues in Montreal, the LA Kings have been knocking on the Canadiens door for Jeff Petry.

–Pierre LeBrun reports that Dallas is most likely keeping right-side defenseman John Klingberg. Dallas believes they are still in the playoff race. Most likely.

9 a.m: The Arizona Coyotes sign goaltender Karel Vejmelka to a three-year contract. Late Sunday night, Arizona traded goalie Scott Wedgewood, who stoned the Penguins on Saturday, to the Dallas Stars for a conditional fourth-round pick. Arizona also acquired pending college free agent Jack McBain from the Minnesota Wild. McBain would have been a free agent this summer and was not going to sign with Minnesota, but will sign with Arizona (Dear lord, why?!)

I already question McBain’s hockey sense.

9:15 a.m. Purely Pittsburgh Penguins news: Brock McGinn joined Jason Zucker to skate with skills coach Ty Hennes two hours before the Penguins practice at the UPMC Lemieux Complex.

*Analysis: Like you, I’m wondering what the Beaulieu acquisition means. Three years ago, it would have meant a solid depth defenseman who can occasionally fight. However, at this point of his career, and the depth of the Penguins blue line, it is a curiosity.

The Penguins have $5.3 million in LTIR pool money, about $4.7 million in cap space, but are $1.7 million over the cap with everyone healthy. All figures according to

The numbers mean the Penguins can acquire someone, but they will have to move out salary, eventually. Since Vancouver acquired Travis Dermott on Sunday afternoon, perhaps that trail is cold.

Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek tied the Penguins to Detroit Red Wings d-man Nick Leddy, who would be a solid addition, but he costs $5.5 million. Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ron Hextall’s chessboard is getting complicated. A singular move, dollar for dollar is the easiest thing on paper, but those are difficult. With Beaulieu, has Hextall set himself up to deal a LHD, but keep his depth?

Do the Penguins expect Beaulieu, who has genuinely awful advanced statistics (he’s looking up at ‘trigger warning’ Jack Johnson), to get the occasional sweater ahead of Mark Friedman? That seems unlikely, so…what is this deal if not a precursor?

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8 months ago

Mr. Truculence is gonna live up to his name today. You watch . . . #JustDoIt

Last edited 8 months ago by Paul
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul

It’s 1:40 p.m. (Eastern). Don’t make me look bad, Burkie!

8 months ago

Prayer to the hockey gods:

“Dear, sweet gordie Howe, please bring some guy who can hit a net. The team has 17 guys who skate around with ham sandwiches for fists.


8 months ago

I can’t believe everyone is on the ice for practice its a little disheartening actually

8 months ago

Kapanen + Pettersson = ?

Detroit = Bertuzzi

Vancouver = Gatland . Garland is 165lb’s that’s right up Sullivan’s alley

Keith T.
Keith T.
8 months ago

In my book…….. Sprong = Kapanen. JR loved them both…….. and both have about the same game & production……both are proving to be great players in juniors but fail to capture the NHL game. Still hoping they can move Kapanen by the deadline.

William Maloni
William Maloni
8 months ago

Hexie tease, so he can “Pens did acquire Bealieu” (a broken DMan).

Nothing happening today to excite fans.

Mark Miller
Mark Miller
8 months ago

Bottom line looks like no one wants any pen player, if the is no more moves today hextall and Burke will really look lost.

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
8 months ago

Hex is waiting until the offseason to do some work. Doing nothing is I guess what we all have to get used to with our GM.

8 months ago

Wow! Ricard Rickell. And thanks for the cov

8 months ago
Reply to  AnthonyB

*coverage Dan

8 months ago

We landed Rakell. Also potentially Namestikov

D1VE is Dumb
D1VE is Dumb
8 months ago

Great work keeping up with all of this today Dan!

A. Lifeson
A. Lifeson
8 months ago

Should’ve had Deslauriers too in a package deal.

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
8 months ago
Reply to  A. Lifeson

I was thinking the same thing