Pittsburgh Penguins Trade Options This Offseason

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After a disappointing playoff exit within the first spherical, I anticipate the Pittsburgh Penguins will commerce some gamers. You would argue that it was just one participant’s fault, however I consider we are going to see some motion after underperforming seasons from some gamers and with the Seattle Kraken enlargement draft arising. Listed below are the gamers who could possibly be on the transfer.

Jason Zucker

He’s the apparent selection, as Zucker had a disappointing season and has not been what the Penguins anticipated him to be once they traded a first-round decide and defenseman prospect Calen Addison for him final February.

Zucker, 29, recorded 9 objectives and 18 factors via 38 video games this season, typically rotating between the second and third traces. He ranked fourth-worst on the workforce in anticipated wins above alternative (xWAR), with a 0.00, which means he neither earned nor misplaced the workforce wins above alternative degree.

I wasn’t disenchanted in Zucker. He’s a gritty and energetic ahead who has the talent however has been unfortunate production-wise. Folks have forgotten his 12 factors in 15 video games after becoming a member of the Penguins in 2019-20. The potential is there for him to provide at a 50-point tempo over an 82-game season.

Jason Zucker, Pittsburgh Penguins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

I don’t suppose he’s as unhealthy because the stats present, and if head coach Mike Sullivan put him on a line with Sidney Crosby, his manufacturing would skyrocket. Nevertheless, this was probably his final season in Pittsburgh, and he could possibly be an choice for the Seattle Kraken to draft. If not, I anticipate him to be moved to make room for rookie Samuel Poulin.

Marcus Pettersson’s decline has not been enjoyable to look at. The Swedish defender seemed like a steal after being acquired for Daniel Sprong. Nevertheless, over time, he has develop into worse and worse, and he’s now a bottom-pairing defenseman who’s paid $4 million yearly till 2025.

Since arriving in Pittsburgh through the 2018-19 season, Pettersson’s manufacturing has step by step declined from a 0.33 point-per-game tempo to 0.31. This season, it was a measly 0.19. I do know his job is to not put up numbers, however his defensive recreation has additionally been lackluster. The issue is that he’s not an awesome positional participant, so he typically will get beat within the impartial zone and is pressured to both take a stick infraction penalty or let the participant get a free breakaway for a high quality scoring probability. We noticed this far too typically through the season, and it was irritating to look at.

The Penguins have a number of cheaper choices to exchange him. Pierre-Olivier Joseph had 5 factors and a 0.30 xGAR via 16 video games this season, and whereas he seemed unhealthy defensively at instances, a full season within the AHL has helped him mature his recreation. An alternative choice is Juuso Riikola, who I’m a fan of. He was restricted to only two video games this season, and it’s unhappy to see how he’s being misused by the workforce. He’s prepared for a bottom-pairing position within the NHL however hasn’t been given the chance.

A far-fetched choice, however one I might not be against, is William Reilly, a shut-down defensive defenseman chosen with the final decide within the 2017 NHL Draft. Reilly was named a finalist for the ECAC’s Greatest Defensive Defenseman Award in 2019-20 and was referred to as as much as the Penguins’ taxi squad this season however was by no means given the prospect to play.

Marcus Pettersson, Pittsburgh Penguins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

I don’t suppose Pettersson is “unmovable”, which means the Penguins received’t have to surrender belongings to eliminate him. I might take a look at a workforce just like the Los Angeles Kings or Chicago Blackhawks, who’ve the cap house and the necessity for younger defensemen.

Casey DeSmith

I like Casey DeSmith as a lot as the following particular person, however the Penguins want a extra skilled tandem if they’ll hold Tristan Jarry which, by the seems to be of it, will occur.

DeSmith had an awesome season, with an 11-7-0 document and two shutouts, a .912 save proportion (SV%), and three.89 objectives saved above anticipated (GSAx). He was poised to take the beginning job from Jarry, nonetheless, he may by no means hold his play constant.

Casey DeSmith, Pittsburgh Penguins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

After a powerful common season, DeSmith may fetch a very good return and make room for a veteran goaltender to take his place and mentor Jarry. I’d take a look at the Detroit Pink Wings, New Jersey Devils, and Anaheim Geese as potential commerce companions who want a very good backup.

Zach Aston-Reese

That is one other occasion during which the enlargement draft has put stress on the Penguins to make a transfer. Aston-Reese is a probable candidate to be uncovered and probably claimed by the Kraken, which places the workforce ready to get one thing for him in a commerce moderately than lose him for nothing.

Whereas he was a stable defensive participant on the fourth line, he’s simply replaceable by a free agent on a less expensive deal. He was invisible within the offensive zone, like a black gap, scoring simply two objectives in his final 25 video games this season.

Zach Aston-Reese, Pittsburgh Penguins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Aston-Reese could be a very good match for groups just like the Edmonton Oilers or Toronto Maple Leafs, who need to enhance their depth. The Penguins may all the time maintain out and hope the Kraken don’t select him, however extra probably, he can be moved.

Vital Offseason

These are the one gamers who’re prone to be moved by the workforce this offseason. We are going to see largely the identical lineup going into subsequent season, as basic supervisor Ron Hextall doesn’t appear eager on an entire roster shakeup. This offseason is essential, and the Penguins mustn’t overreact to a different first-round exit and unload everyone.



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