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Penguins Trade Grant for Blandisi: Analysis & Projections

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In the early morning hours Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks began a roster shakeup in the midst of a 12-game losing streak. As a result, the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired forward Joseph Blandisi for fourth-line forward Derek Grant, according to Penguins GM Jim Rutherford.

Blandisi, 24, will join the Penguins today in Arizona. He has played the majority of the season in San Diego of the AHL. He as 23 points (8g, 15a) in 27 AHL games. Blandisi is scoreless in three NHL games this season and was scoreless in three games for Anaheim last season.

From our Dan Kingerski: The scouting report on Blandisi says he is an agitator with good hands at the lower levels. He has shown flashes at the NHL level–as a rookie, he was noticeable with the Devils but he has not been able to stick at the highest level. Since he is smaller, his rambunctious style can work against him. He projects to be an extra forward for the Penguins, though in the absence of Zach Aston-Reese and Patric Hornqvist, Blandisi will get a shot. The Penguins need some sandpaper in the bottom of their lineup, badly. Look for him to be at full speed if the Penguins insert him into the lineup against Arizona or Vegas.

Sometimes, a player only needs one more chance. It’s an intriguing pick up for the Penguins.

Derek Grant was a good fit in Anaheim. He didn’t use his 6-foot-3 frame as well as he could have for the Penguins. He showed nice playmaking skills but the Penguins needed a different skill set for that role. 

It’s a very good deal for the Penguins and Anaheim. Neither risked much but both could be well rewarded.

Blandisi has 100 points (33g, 67a) in 133 career AHL games with San Diego, Binghampton, and Albany. As an overage junior for the Barrie Colts, he led the OHL with 52 goals.

His current contract with a $680,000 cap hit at the NHL level and expires after this season. Blandisi will be a restricted free agent. Anaheim acquired Blandisi and Adam Henrique last season from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Sami Vatanen.

In 74 career NHL games, Blandisi has 26 points (8g, 18a). The five-foot-11, 187-pound forward set career highs as a rookie in 2015-16 with the New Jersey Devils. Blandisi scored 17 points (5g, 12a) in 41 games.

The Penguins signed Derek Grant as a free agent in July. Grant played 66 games for Anaheim last season and set career highs with 12 goals and 12 assists. Grant has primarily served as the Penguins 13th forward when the full roster is healthy.

Anaheim made three trades Wednesday night, including this one. They also acquired defenseman Michael Del Zotto from Vancouver in exchange for Luke Schenn and a 2020 seventh round pick. Anaheim also dealt Pontus Aberg to Minnesota for a prospect.

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