Untangling the web of trades that landed Derick Brassard in Pittsburgh

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The <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nhl/teams/pit/" data-ylk="slk:Pittsburgh Penguins">Pittsburgh Penguins</a> now have three elite centremen after the acquisition of <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nhl/players/3987/" data-ylk="slk:Derick Brassard">Derick Brassard</a> Friday. (AFP Photo/Minas Panagiotakis)
The Pittsburgh Penguins now have three elite centremen after the acquisition of Derick Brassard Friday. (AFP Photo/Minas Panagiotakis)

After a strange and confusing few hours, the Ottawa Senators have officially started to tear it all down.

Derick Brassard, widely considered the most coveted centre available at this year’s trade deadline, is on his way to the Pittsburgh Penguins after an initial three-way deal was rejected by the NHL. News first broke of the trade early Friday afternoon, but reports had to be retracted following news of the league vetoing the deal — resulting in a lot of confusion for a lot of people trying to figure this thing out.

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Once all the dust settled, this is how it shakes out:

Pittsburgh ends up with Brassard, a 2018 third-round pick from Ottawa, and a pair of minor-league prospects in Tobias Lindberg and Vincent Dunn. With the addition of Brassard, who will have 40 percent of his salary picked up by the Vegas Golden Knights, Pittsburgh now boasts the most potent triple threat down the middle in the NHL, with the 30-year-old joining Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the Metro-leading Pens. The team’s top nine now features the aforementioned three, Phil Kessel, Jake Guenztel, Conor Sheary, Patric Hornqvist, Bryan Rust, Dominik Simon and Carl Hagelin.

The Penguins are stacked in net with two-time Cup winner Matt Murray at the helm and talented youngsters Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith behind him, and this luxury of crease depth allowed the Pens to flip a very good young goalie in 2018 WJC top goaltender Filip Gustavsson to Ottawa. Along with (possibly) their goaltender of the future, the Senators also obtained Pittsburgh’s 2018 first-round and 2019 third-round picks, along with defenceman Ian Cole — who Ottawa is expected to flip before Monday’s deadline.

The Golden Knights, for whatever reason, got in on the action as well by acquiring a 2018 fourth-round pick along with Pens forward Ryan Reaves, and using there abundance of cap space to retain 40 percent of Brassard’s salary. It’s not yet clear what Vegas’ plans are with Reaves, or why exactly they took on a large chunk of Brassard’s salary cap hit, but those details may emerge over the next 48 hours or so.

My initial thoughts (and those shared by many) on this trade are as follows: Pittsburgh did great in turning their top-nine into the best in the NHL. The Senators, for the tire-fire that they’re about to become, got a top goalie prospect and some daft picks — so they did decent as well. The Golden knights, well, it looks like they got hosed.

Golden Knights GM George McPhee may have another trick up his sleeve before this is all said and done, but for now it’s not clear what Vegas is doing here. Im sure we can just trust McPhee to figure it all out, though.

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