The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired forward Jason Zucker from the Minnesota Wild on Monday for a package that includes Alex Galchenyuk, a conditional first-round pick in the 2020 draft and a prospect.
The Penguins have suffered the most man-games lost in the NHL this season and have now secured a top-six forward for the near future.
“Jason Zucker is a top-six forward that we think will be a great fit for our group,” said Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, according to Pittsburgh’s media release about the deal. “He's a proven goal scorer, and with three more years on his current contract, he has the potential to make an impact for us moving forward.”
Zucker has been rumoured to make his way out of Minnesota for the past calendar year, but a deal never came to fruition. He is currently in the second season of a five-year, $27.5 million contract that he signed in 2018. The deal came with a modified no-trade clause.
The 28-year-old winger has been a consistent presence in the Wild’s top-six through the last few seasons and currently has 14 goals and 29 points through 45 games this season. Mind you, that’s with Minnesota’s offence. Imagine what he could do playing on the same line as Sidney Crosby.
The only current NHL player heading to the Wild in this trade is Alex Galchenyuk.
Drafted third overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Galchenyuk is now with his fourth franchise since then. Traded to the Penguins from the Arizona Coyotes as part of the return for forward Phil Kessel, the 26-year-old has five goals and 17 points this season.
The Wild are also getting prospect Calen Addison — a 19-year-old defenceman with plenty of offensive upside — and a conditional first-round pick in the upcoming draft. If the Penguins miss the playoffs, they can move it to the 2021 draft, though.
Addison was a highly-touted prospect and seen as a good get by the Penguins at 53rd overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, but the surge of rookie John Marino has slid Addison down the depth chart and ultimately made him expendable.
With the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL this season, Addison has 10 goals and 43 points through 39 games.
The Penguins have made their move and the dominos will surely start falling now.
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