What a weird day. It was reported in the afternoon that the Pittsburgh Penguins had acquired Derick Brassard from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a 2018 first-round pick, Filip Gustavsson, and Ian Cole, but it soon became apparent that the transaction was more complicated than that.
Vegas got involved so that Pittsburgh, which obviously has significant cap considerations, wouldn’t be on the hook for Brassard’s full $5 million annual cost through 2018-19. The trade seemed to be in limbo for hours until it was reported that the NHL rejected the deal and then, roughly seven hours after the trade had first been reported, a reworked version of the deal was made official.
Pittsburgh would indeed end up with Brassard and at a 40% cap discount thanks to Vegas taking part of the contract. In exchange for the Golden Knights help, Vegas got Penguins enforcer Ryan Reaves and a 2018 fourth-round pick. The new trade also led to Pittsburgh getting a third-round pick from Ottawa, 22-year-old former Senators prospect Vincent Dunn, and Golden Knights 22-year-old prospect Tobias Lindberg (who assuming had originally been drafted by the Ottawa Senators back in 2013). In addition to getting Cole, Gustavsson, and the Penguins’ 2018 first-round pick, Ottawa also ended up with the Penguins’ 2019 third-round pick.
So the trade looks very messy when spelt out, but the bottom line is that Pittsburgh got Brassard, Ottawa got some pieces for the future, and Vegas got a little something thrown their way in exchange for their cap space.
From Vegas’ perspective, this trade is minor, but pretty decent. Why not get something, however potentially inconsequential, for some salary room you weren’t using? For Ottawa, it will take time to see just how this works out. Certainly first-round picks are always nice to have and Gustavsson is a highly regarded goaltending prospect, so this haul could work out very nicely for them in the long run.
As for Pittsburgh, getting Brassard is a great accomplishment. Brassard has enough offensive abilities to comfortably serve as a top-six forward, but with the Penguins he will be an overqualified third-line center. That gives the Penguins the sort of three-prong threat that they seem to love as Brassard will likely play primarily with Phil Kessel while Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby can headline the top two lines. Then you can have Riley Sheahan, who had been doing fairly well on the third line, shift down to the fourth line.
The Penguins look very deep as they attempt to win their third consecutive Stanley Cup championship.
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MINNESOTA 4 NY RANGERS 1
This was a game where two Wild players had huge nights. The first was Mikael Granlund with his two goals and two assists. He’s up to 17 goals and 49 points in 56 contests.
Eric Staal matched Granlund with two goals and two assists of his own. Staal now has 29 goals and 58 points in 61 contests. Just as a remember, Staal is in the second year of a three-year, $10.5 million deal, which might prove to be one of the best value contracts for a veteran player in the cap era.
Devan Dubnyk stopped 22 of 23 shots last night. He has a 25-11-5 record, 2.57 GAA, and .919 save percentage in 43 games.
Jesper Fast netted the Rangers’ only goal. It was his ninth marker and 19th point in 54 games.
Alexandar Georgiev stopped 33 of 37 Wild shots. Honestly, it’s not a bad showing given that he had only made his NHL debut on Thursday and was nevertheless made to start for the second time in as many nights.
PITTSBURGH 6 CAROLINA 1
Phil Kessel scored twice and registered an assist. That gives him 26 goals and 69 points in 62 contests.
Evgeni Malkin found the back of the net and recorded two assists. He has 34 goals and 73 points in 58 games.
Teuvo Teravainen found the back of the net for Carolina. He’s up to 15 goals and 47 points in 61 games.
Matt Murray stopped 27 of 28 shots to earn his fifth consecutive victory. He hasn’t lost in regulation time since Jan. 4.
Cam Ward surrendered all six Penguins goals over 39 shots. He dropped to a 17-9-4 record, 2.71 GAA, and .908 save percentage in 32 games.
WINNIPEG 4 ST. LOUIS 0
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 34 shots to earn his sixth shutout of the season. He ranks second in the league in perfect games behind only Andrei Vasilevskiy. Hellebuyck also now has a 32-9-8 record, 2.32 GAA, and .924 save percentage in 51 games.
Jaden Schwartz gave Hellebuyck the most work with his team-high five shots. Schwartz has 18 goals in 99 shots for an 18.2 shooting percentage.
Blake Wheeler scored a goal and registered an assist. That gives him 18 goals and 71 points in 61 games.
Kyle Connor also had a goal and an assist for the Jets. He’s up to 22 goals and 40 points in 55 contests.
Jake Allen kicked out 19 of 23 Jets shots. He’s lost three straight games and has surrendered nine goals over that span.
CHICAGO 3 SAN JOSE 1
J.F. Berube made his first NHL start of the campaign and turned aside 42 of 43 shots. In 2016-17, he had a 3.42 GAA and .889 save percentage in 14 games with the Islanders.
Jan Rutta returned after missing eight games with an undisclosed injury and made up for lost time with a goal and an assist. The 27-year-old defenseman has six goals and 19 points in 42 contests.
Nick Schmaltz scored the game-winning goal and recorded an assist. That gives him 17 goals and 42 points in 58 contests.
Timo Meier netted the Sharks’ lone goal. It was his 15th marker and 25th point in 61 games.
Martin Jones saved 33 of 35 Blackhawks shots. He has a 19-16-5 record, 2.52 GAA, and .917 save percentage in 42 starts.
VEGAS 6 VANCOUVER 3
Anders Nilsson surrendered five goals on 25 shots over 40 minutes of play. Jacob Markstrom stepped in for the third period and stopped the eight shots he faced, but by then the damage was done.
At the other end of the ice, Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 30 of 33 shots. He has a 21-7-2 record, 2.13 GAA, and .930 save percentage in 30 starts.
William Karlsson scored two goals and registered an assist. That gives the Golden Knights forward 33 goals and 55 points in 61 contests this season.
Reilly Smith assisted on three of the Golden Knights’ six goals. He’s up to 20 goals and 56 points in 61 games.
Daniel Sedin scored a goal and registered an assist for Vancouver. He has 16 goals and 39 points in 60 contests.
With this win, Vegas once again has the NHL’s top record at 41-16-4. Tampa Bay is just behind with its 41-17-3 record.