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Penguins Trade McCann to Toronto, Re-Acquire Hallander; Full Analysis

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Pittsburgh Penguins Bryan Rust, Jared McCann

The Pittsburgh Penguins slipped in just under the 3 p.m. NHL roster freeze. With the expansion draft looming and the Saturday at 5 p.m. deadline for submitting expansion draft protected lists, the Penguins trade recouped an asset for a player they feared losing.

While it is not yet official, multiple NHL rights holders have reported Penguins GM Ron Hextall traded Jared McCann to the Toronto Maple Leafs for former Penguins prospect Filip Hallander and a seventh-round pick.

“We are excited to add Filip back to the organization. He is a well-rounded player with good size who plays the game the right way,” said Hextall. “We are grateful to Jared for his contributions to the team and wish him the best.”

Hallander, 21, is signed through the 2022-23 season and his contract carries an average annual value of $764,167 at the NHL level.

PHN spoke with Hallander in the 2019 rookie camp. He was anxious to join the Penguins organization and come to North America but never got the invite. COVID kept most European prospects at home in 2020-21.

McCann, 25, will play for his fourth team. He was drafted in the first round by the Vancouver Canucks, then traded to the Florida Panthers in the Roberto Luongo deal. Florida traded him and Nick Bjugstad to the Penguins on Feb. 1, 2019, in the Derick Brassard trade.

McCann and Bjugstad famously received a police escort from the Pittsburgh airport to the arena and just made the opening faceoff.

Last season, McCann scored 32 points (14-18-32) in 43 games and became an exciting piece at the top of the Penguins’ power play in Evgeni Malkin’s absence. However, the Penguins were looking at losing a good player in the expansion draft.

So, just before the freeze, the Penguins recouped Hallander, a player they are familiar with as a Penguins second-round pick in 2018. Hallander had 24 points (13-11-24) in 51 games this season in the Swedish Elite League for Lulea HF.

The Penguins traded Hallander to Toronto last August as part of acquiring Kasperi Kapanen from Toronto. In part, this trade undoes some of that.

Hallander, 6-foot, 190 pounds, is a gritty forward who doesn’t mind a few net-front battles. His 13 goals against only 11 assists should tell you he is a finisher. His ceiling is a middle-six winger, though he can play center, as well.

PuckPedia Trade Analysis by the numbers. 

McCann’s departure leaves a LW hole in the Penguins lineup but removes $2.9 million from the Penguins’ salary cap.

The expansions lists are due at 5 p.m. on Saturday, and there is an NHL roster freeze until 1 p.m. EST on Thursday.

Penguins Trade Analysis

The Penguins had a difficult choice ahead of the expansion draft list deadline. If they protected McCann, Teddy Bleuger was a possible unprotected asset. Blueger or Jeff Carter could still be unprotected, but the Penguins did recoup an asset for McCann.

The biggest knock on McCann was his playoff performances. He is goalless in 13 games, all with the Penguins and was scratched for one game in the 2020 Qualifying Round against Montreal.

It’s a tough deal for the Penguins. Hallander is highly unlikely to score 14 goals this coming season, certainly not the 19 McCann popped in 2018-19. In fact, Hallander is no sure thing to make an impact in the NHL. He’s 21-years-old and hasn’t yet skated in a professional North American game.

He’s a mid-level prospect at this point.

The Penguins lose a potential top-six LW with 20-goal potential and coming into his own. Toronto gains a replacement for Zach Hyman on the left side of Auston Matthews.

But the Penguins are much more likely to keep Blueger or Carter. It’s a loss but Hextall mitigated the pain. And, Hallander may become a grimy net-front battler the team needs in a year, or two.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Chase Ranson
Chase Ranson
2 months ago

Dumb moves

Jay95
Jay95
2 months ago
Reply to  Chase Ranson

What else could they do? I guess expose both Carter and Blueger…I would have been fine with that. But, At least they got a player back who “could” fill a role as early as this season…at some point.

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
2 months ago

Poulin gets a shot at big club in camp.

Jay95
Jay95
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Fisher

I think this makes sense to a degree. The skill is there and a third line role would be perfect. I also would love to add Hyman. But, I have a feeling that the Pens will be searching to replace either Carter or Blueger… Maybe Tanev if he’s left unprotected. (Hyman would be a solution to the last one)

Lars Erik Nelson
Lars Erik Nelson
2 months ago

It seems like the Pens had the opportunity to get something for one of their players and took it. I think this is a bad trade in the sense that the Pens are a worse team for it. I thought McCann really clicked with Carter on the 3rd line and he had a great cap hit. The cap space recovered is okay, but not great. So now we have 4 million in cap space with 1 more player to lose in the expansion draft. I wonder if the Pens were really worried about losing Carter. I was expecting the Kraken… Read more »

Jay95
Jay95
2 months ago

They’re not taking Zucker unless the Pens add to make them take him. His contract and salary don’t currently add up.

Pittsburghbob69
Pittsburghbob69
2 months ago

Why not just let them take McCann. Now we lose McCann and ZAR

Even worse, now we traded McCann and the 15th overall pick for Kappy and a 7th.

Last edited 2 months ago by Pittsburghbob69
Jay95
Jay95
2 months ago

It won’t be ZAR. It’ll be Blueger, Carter, or Tanev…whoever is left available.

Mstar80
Mstar80
2 months ago

See ya, Jared. You’ll fit in with the rest of the Leafs that can’t score in the playoffs.

Dave H
Dave H
2 months ago

Good trade. McCann disappeared when Malkin came back. I believe this is just a small pre expansion move. Why would they take Carter? Tanev & Bluger stay, Zucker goes as they have cap space. Then we see what Hex does next. McCann was not a sandpaper guy anyway.

AnthonyB
AnthonyB
2 months ago

Sad to see McCann go but, Genius move

Joe Cursi
Joe Cursi
2 months ago

What a great move getting something a d still keeping two of the three peeps that you possibly could loose in the expansion draft. Now I am saying we will lose Zach Aston Reese as everyone is too expensive to take with their lack of productivity!

Rich Filardi
Rich Filardi
2 months ago

My only question-was this the best deal out there? Was there interest from another team?

Cal
Cal
2 months ago

I honestly thought he would fetch a bit more but not much. But it does show the amount a lot of us Penguins fans over-rate the value of our players. I would shake my head at the thought of losing Blueger or Tanev over McCaan. Another possiblility is that they wanted to move some salary and get something instead of nothing. They asked Jared where he would like to go. ( a classy move from management). He picked the Leafs.
I hope he does great in TO except when he plays the Pens.

crazyhorse87
crazyhorse87
2 months ago

Clever move, maybe Zohorna can take his spot in due time. It looks like a salary dump, maybe Petterson is out paving way for Joseph. Rust will most likely be expecting a hefty raise, I still like the idea of a younger player in Tage Thompson at 2 million cheaper at an extra season. You still have Legare for the right side as well possibly in the very near future. I hope they can find a way to keep Ceci, Matheson didn’t look that good in the playoffs to me, he seemed afraid at times.

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
2 months ago

Typical cap space clearing move. He didn’t have a big cap hit, but would they have been able to afford him after this season? Malkin, Letang, and Rust all due new contracts? He disappeared in the playoffs. Now they can keep another player in the expansion draft and have more cap space left over to either sign another player or trade for someone!

jrutka
jrutka
2 months ago

Stupid… Now due to expansion draft, Pens will lose two players instead of only one.

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