The Pittsburgh Penguins might get tougher. A LOT TOUGHER. On Sunday, the team was reported to be chasing fourth-line forward and hard-fisted Nicolas Deslauriers from the Anaheim Ducks. It would be the first Penguins trade for new General Manager Ron Hextall and President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet first reported the Penguins trade talks. While Friedman initially reported the trade, he shortly pulled it back to be talks.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now has been following the potential deal to acquire Deslauriers for weeks. The 30-year-old LW began his career as a defenseman with the Montreal Canadiens.
As a skater, he has a heavy wrist shot and can chip in a few points, in addition to violence prevention. This season, Deslauriers has eight points (4g, 4a) in 35 games and 38 penalty minutes.
In addition to a potentially heavy presence on the Penguins’ bottom line, Deslauriers can also handle himself without gloves; he can be a hard-handed fighter, too. Two seasons ago, he put Washington Capitals hammer Tom Wilson in his place.
On March 1, PHN wrote the following:
Penguins fans would like to see someone punch Tom Wilson. The Penguins would probably like to see someone punch Tom Wilson. So, it makes sense to look for someone who can and has punched Tom Wilson.
Deslauriers was a defenseman early in his career, so he is a serviceable fourth-liner, and he has a hard shot. He’s not a one-dimensional player. This season he has three goals and two assists which would put him ahead of all Penguins fourth-liners. Oh, and there’s this scrap with Wilson.
Wilson injured Penguins center Mark Jankowski with a late hit in February. Wilson received a minor penalty for interference, but the Penguins did not retaliate.
The Penguins trade match with Anaheim was too obvious to ignore. Deslauriers’ salary is an easily affordable $1 million through the end of next season. The 6-foot-3, 219-pound winger has amassed over 200 hits in several seasons, and when he hits, he makes a dent.
Deslauriers certainly fills Penguins President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke’s desire for more physicality. If the trade goes through, the next question will be if Deslauriers can hang in Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan’s system.
This is not the first trade with Anaheim in recent years. In 2016, the Penguins acquired Carl Hagelin for David Perron, and two years ago, they acquired Marcus Pettersson for Daniel Sprong.
The Penguins trade price is not yet known as of 4:30 p.m., but PHN will update the story as soon as the trade is official.
Editor’s Note: The original version of the story quoted the Canadian report that a trade was done. As the report was amended, so too was our story.