Penguins finally land Jason Zucker in trade with Minnesota Wild
Zucker goes to Pittsburgh in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk, a prospect and a first-round pick
As a result of the trade, the Penguins beef up their forward group with the addition of Zucker, who has scored 90 goals in the last three-and-a-half seasons with Minnesota. The 28-year-old winger is expected to slot into the Penguins' top-six, where he'll have a great opportunity to produce while playing alongside the likes of Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin. He should be a welcome addition (and valuable insurance) to a Pens' offense that has been dinged up by significant injuries throughout the season.
It's also worth noting that Zucker is signed through the 2023 season with an annual cap hit of $5.5 million, which likely made it a little easier for Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford to part ways with a top pick and Addison (a 2018 second-round pick) as he looked to improve the team at this year's trade deadline.
The addition of Galchenyuk makes the money work -- he's making $4.9 million on the cap in the final year of his current contract this year -- but isn't a big loss for the Penguins. Galchenyuk has struggled to stay in the lineup for the Penguins and is now heading to his fourth team in the last three seasons.
Meanwhile, the Wild get some future assets (and a low risk add in Galchenyuk) while shedding Zucker's salary as they look to retool in Minnesota. New Wild general manager Bill Guerin hasn't been shy about wanting to shake things up since taking the job this offseason, and now he's taken a step in that direction by swinging a big deal with his former club.
Pittsburgh was first linked to Zucker over the summer when they attempted to trade Phil Kessel to Minnesota in exchange for Zucker. That deal fell through when Kessel utilized his no-trade clause and rejected the trade. Ultimately, the Penguins ended up dealing Kessel to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a package that centered around... Galchenyuk. Ironically, the main piece of the Kessel trade now goes to Minnesota for Zucker.
It's a strong play for Pittsburgh as they sit second in the Metro division, four points behind the Washington Capitals. Minnesota is four points back of the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.
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