The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired centers Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann from the Florida Panthers for Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan, along with a 2019 second-round pick and two fourth-round picks in June.
There are a lot of combined players and draft picks headed to Florida because of the pending UFA status of both Brassard and Sheahan, as well as the fact that the trade makes the Penguins younger and bigger (Bjugstad is 6-6). Usually a team does not get younger while loading up for a Stanley Cup run, so it will be interesting to see if this works for Pittsburgh. McCann will become a RFA after the 2019-20 season, while Bjugstad will become a UFA after 2020-21, so the Pens also acquire more cap certainty.
TRADE ALERT: The Penguins have acquired forwards Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan and three draft picks.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 1, 2019
Pens’ GM Jim Rutherford has indicated that Bjugstad should immediately slot in as the Pens’ third-line center behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, a role that Brassard seemed to struggle with (just 15 points in 40 games). This could result in icetime with Phil Kessel, a role that could help Bjugstad’s assist total. Bjugstad does have the flexibility of moving to the wing – something that Rutherford also mentioned – which could provide him with a spot beside one of Crosby or Malkin. With just 12 points in 32 games, Bjugstad might just need a new opportunity, particularly one with a team as high-scoring as the Pens.
(Source: The Athletic)
In the near term, Malkin is expected to be sidelined through the weekend (Friday and Saturday) with an upper-body injury. So Bjugstad could be thrust into the top 6 immediately upon arrival.
McCann himself could start on the wing, although a role as a fourth-line center might also be a possibility. He may be settling in as a shutdown forward, which at this point would limit his fantasy upside. Still, there’s always the possibility of playing alongside Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, etc.
Overall, this trade doesn’t move the needle much either for the traded players or their teammates. However, it’s possible that the Panthers aren’t done, as Brassard could very well be flipped before the deadline (and so could Sheahan). If Brassard isn’t playing in the top 6, he can most likely be ignored for fantasy purposes. The Panthers already have Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck up the middle, and Brassard won’t unseat either of those two.
The Panthers are already working on moving Brassard elsewhere, though not sure anything's imminent on that front right now. He will be moved again at some point before trade deadline.
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) February 1, 2019
This trade could be a part of a bigger plan for the Panthers to bring the talents of one (or both) of Artemi Panarin or Sergei Bobrovsky to South Beach. Miami is rumored to be a place where Panarin is interested in playing.
As we talked about yesterday, Florida hopes to take a run at Panarin and Bobrovsky so after today’s trade they have more flexibility to do it. And while they could wait until July 1 to go after them, they could also inquire before Feb 25 if something makes sense… so stay tuned
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) February 1, 2019
Players this helps, in order:
Brassard (with the possibility he is traded again)
Fantasy owners are already weighing in on the deal on the Forum – give your take here!
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