Brassard to the Penguins in Three-Team Deal

by | Feb 24, 2018 | News, NHL, Rumors | 35 comments

The Ottawa Senators traded center Derick Brassard to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a complex three-team deal that also involved the Vegas Golden Knights. It breaks down as follows: 

“Pittsburgh traded defenseman Ian Cole, goalie Filip Gustavsson, a 2018 first-round draft pick and a 2019 third-round selection to the Senators.

The Penguins sent forward Ryan Reaves and a 2018 fourth-round draft pick originally acquired from Vancouver to the Golden Knights. Vegas is also retaining 40% of Brassard’s salary this season.”

In addition to getting Brassard, the Penguins “received a 2018 third-round draft pick and prospect forward Vincent Dunn from the Senators; and the Pens also received prospect forward Tobias Lindberg from the Golden Knights.”

The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired center Derick Brassard from the Ottawa Senators (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford finds a way to load up for yet another run at the Stanley Cup. With this move, Rutherford has served notice the Penguins are serious about a drive for a third-straight championship. It could have a significant ripple effect upon the trade market leading up to Monday’s 3pm ET trade deadline.

Brassard, 30, is a solid two-way center on pace this season for 25 goals and 50 points. He’ll slide into the third-line center role with the Penguins and can also move up into the second-line role if Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin become sidelined by injury. He also has good playoff numbers, with 22 goals and 55 points in 78 postseason contests. 

Brassard has an annual salary-cap hit of $5 million through 2018-19. The Golden Knights picking up a big chunk of it made it easier for the cap-strapped Pens to add him to their payroll after shipping out Cole and Reaves. 

Reaves, 31, was acquired at last year’s draft by the Penguins in a trade with the St. Louis Blues, who received the 31st overall pick (which was used to select Klim Kostin) and forward Oskar Sundqvist. He was brought in to provide an additional physical presence to the Penguins forward lines, but Rutherford evidently felt he was worth parting with to bring in more skill at center. The Golden Knights add Reaves’ grit to their lineup as well as an additional fourth-round pick this year.

The Senators aren’t just retooling, this is a full-fledged rebuild. Depending on where the Pens finish in the standings that pick could be low in the first round. GM Pierre Dorion could retain it or perhaps use it as trade bait at the deadline to bring in a good young player or prospect. He also clears Brassard’s full cap hit from his books, which could be put toward re-signing restricted free agents such as Mark Stone or Cody Ceci. Gustavsson, according to The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy, is “an excellent goaltending prospect, which fills “a big need” for the Senators. 

Dorion probably isn’t done dealing. Cole was the frequent subject of trade speculation since December, when the Pens were mired in a significant losing skid and in danger of falling completely out of playoff contention. The trade chatter had died down as the Penguins improved and surged in the standings. He is an unrestricted free agent this summer. As per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun:




  1. Well I hate to see Ryan go, but we need a 3rd line center to jump up in case of injury. I think that will be three years in a row without a 1st rounder though.

    • Maybe Vegas can put him on Waivers where he belongs ;). I don’t think Penguins will win Cup though they are sure going for broke. Rather have a team do that then sit around like an old Judas Priest lyric in a song ;). Least they realized Reeves wasn’t worth the 1st rounder so they ditched him to get a player who is more in line w/ that value ;). Murray just has to stay healthy along with LEtang among others to make a real run :)…

    • Doesn’t really matter since they do real well getting the college guys.

  2. Now that I’ve heard TSN and Sportsnet assess Gustavsson and the interest in Cole, I don’t mind the trade as much as earlier today. Still hate that they’re tearing this down, but it sounds like Gustavsson is a very high end goalie prospect and that Cole will get more than just a third like I previously thought.

    My guess is Smith and Oduya are goners by Monday, and Karlsson is staying put until the summer (hope he resigns, but less likely now). I’d be surprised if Hoffman and especially Pageau are traded now that Brassard is gone.

    • Gustavsson (age of 19) absolutely is a very high end goalie prospect.

      • Not that high. Most rankings have him around 8th best goalie prospect. He’s never in the top 5-6. But then, goalies are almost impossible to predict.

  3. I understand why Pittsburgh makes this deal because they’re awesome down the middle and are loaded up front (although a third pairing of Ruhwedel and Hunwick would be an adventure.
    I understand why Ottawa makes this deal: Gustavsson could well succeed Craig Anderson if he can hold the fort for another year or two.
    Why would Vegas pick up 40 per cent of Brassard’s contract through next season AND trade Tobias Rieder for goon Ryan Reaves and a fourth-rounder?
    Am I missing something?

    • The Golden Knights wanted to keep Brassard in the Eastern Conference.

    • Well its the same GM that traded Forsberg for Erat :). JUst having a name like Forsberg should be a clue not to do it in the first place. Now Vegas gets worthless trash Ryan Reeves? I guess they wanted to fill some sorta AA quota :)? I give Penguins credit for getting rid of a mistake they traded for in 1st place ;). Then to get team to retain salary like Kessel which worked out great for Toronto err Penguins ;).

      I’d say Ottawa least game in 2nd on this trade since Vegas are the clear losers just taking Reaves ;). Then to retain salary for a player they would have been better off obtaining or keeping :)?

      Mark you are missing on Tobias Rieder that is the Kings who made the bad trade for him along with Wedgewood who they just put on waivers ;). Knights are Vegas, Kings are the LA team who have 2 cups :). I didn’t like the Tobias Rieder trade, though I guess Blake realized German players are superior to Canadian ones in hockey before the beat down in Korea Germany gave to them ;).

    • I read somewhere that Vegas is only retaining Brassards salary for this year and not next year’s.

      • Hi Celik, in all retention trades it is for term of contract …,, per TSN…. they retain in 18-19 40% of Salary and cap….. the odd thing is that the Reston $2.0M in cap space but only have to pay a total of $400 K (40 % of actual Sal ).,, the $2.5 M in signing bonus is ALL paid by Pens …. so in 18/19 Pens give Brassard $3.1 M and their cap hit is $3.0 M; VGK give him $0.4 M with a cap hit of $2.0 M…. Total VGK pay is about another $0.2 M in DB Sal for 17/18; and about $0.3 M left in 17/18 Sal for RR… so 900K total to buy a 4th rounder AND get a tough guy for a deterrent on the playoff push with the underlying bonus of keeping DB away from the PEG …. so not as astounding as it first looked…. took me a while … but I do see this as a creative trade where all three teams came out positively

  4. I was kind of stumped by the negativity towards the Sens in the trade in thexrumourvmill post. Made me think I was missing something.

    I’m ok with the trade.
    I understand is all Ottawa got was a package of maybe NHL talents in draft picks and a solid goalie prospect. But it a pretty solid return.

    Pittsburgh finding away to get Brassard under their cap is amazing.

    Why would vegas help a possible stanley cup final foe is beyond me.

    What irks me most is reality slapping me in the face of this being a rebuild.

    Ah well I will sleep on this and wake up with the anticipation of moves to come and a fun summer at the draft.

    But man its tough being a Sens fan with an owner after one season hiding is walker again.

    • Jeff supposedly one reason was to block Winnipeg Jets from getting Brassard… They probably offered a better deal or package than Penguins… I’m not happy with Vegas getting involved if it was to block Jets or to get Reaves… Both of them are bad ideas, also against the spirit of the rules. It looks like cheating or collusion to help Penguins by Vegas. I think its bad karma if they get bounced early fearful of facing Jets w/ Brassard.

      Senators thought they had a bit more in the tank w/ their starting goalie… Turned out he was a bit too old/close to 40 giving what he had left when his wife had cancer. Sad thing is Senators will probably lose a top 5-10 pick… This year they will likely be in top 10 which claims to be a deep or deepest draft since yada yada yada :). Though next year they probably will miss post season again so be in top 15 or 10 at worse. Way their luck is they probably win draft lottery in 2019 only to see Avalanche picking :).

      If Ottawa just scored in OT last year maybe they win a cup or lose to Nashville… Either way, least they trying to build from the net out knowing the got problems there. When my team isn’t doing well or winning Cups its nice to save money not having to buy merchandise as the upside or positive ;). SEeing a team lose in cup final is a lot worse than rebuilding or retooling in any sport personally :).

    • Jeff agree on the short term pain…. yes this is a gamble … but if he does turn out as the are saying he’s trending … Ottw has a King/Price type goalie in 5 years in a new building with (if EK Gets traded for the multiple assets) a group of good mid 20s players… he definitely will be an upgrade (in a couple of years) to the goalies in place now

      • The problem I do have with getting a goalie so young is my observation that most get the starter job at 26 or 27. That’s along to wait. Thete are exceptions. Time will tell.

      • I wonder if Pittsburgh getting Brassard will force Tampa to deal. Ottawa could play the roll of the arms dealer in this war and come out a super hero.

        Haha the Ottawa Senator Iron Man.

        Yes i know. I both a nerd and lame.

    • Dang typos. Read my post this morning as im vain like that. I didn’t mean to call Melnyk old and hide his walker. Was suppose to be wallet.

    • I expect most fans of the Senators are feeling negative at the moment after the euphoria of the deep playoff run. I’m sure many disgruntled fans know little to nothing about Gustavsson, a second-round pick with legitimate No. 1 potential.

  5. Lyle, have you heard anything on Lundquist? I know he’s commented that even with what’s going on he wants to stay. He hasn’t been in lineup last 2 games. I know he loves NY and I wonder could there be any possibility he goes to Isles? Seems like a perfect match, he wouldn’t need to move. The way they’re playing and moving out vets, he’s pretty much playing with a new team already! Also, would make sense for Isles to go after Cole

    • There’s been the odd musing about the Rangers trading Lundqvist but nothing to suggest that’s a possibility. He’s made it clear he wants to be part of the Rangers’ plans going forward and I believe they want him to remain a part of it.

      • I think he really just loves living in the city. With only 3 yes remaining on his contract, and the slight rebuild they’re doing, getting out now would make sense. With Rangers having excellent goalie prospects, there’s no way he’s here in 3 years. Isles trade would mean he stays in NY, and might help in sobbing Tavares.

  6. And the Buffalo Sabres pick up…Bob Corkum at the deadline for a late pick…

    • Matt, sorry quick update … Sabres made a quick flip of Corkum to Leafs for Bob “Drop the Goves” Nealy and Eddie “hear comes the train” Shack plus 7th rounder in 2050…. 20% of Shack’s bar tab retained by Leafs

  7. To Mark Allen , I slept so well last night and gleefully awoke until you ruined my day with the reminder of the Hunwick/Reuwedhl (sp?) third pairing …. back to the drawing board …, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ….. any GM out there …. make absolutely ANY offer on Hunwick …. Pens have to listen …. if they can free up that Cap this year …. then a 3rd rounder will bring in ANY UFA D twice the quality of Hunwick… I said please…. with sugar on it

  8. If Pens can rid Hunwick contract …. following UFA upgrades at cheaper and easily got for 3rd or 4th, or maybe even a 5th: Connaughton , Schenn , Faulk (Buff); Wideman; Oduya…. again Please with sugar on it

  9. my thunks

    pens still need another 6-7 d man but otherwise are set.

    I am surprisingly curious about who dunn and tobias are… any chance at all for down the line nhl ice time?

    I’d have preferred a trade of Jarry so long as the pens brought back another vet backup for this season/playoffs… Seatle could be a problem though this is far from an immediate concern.


    Overall a great day in Pittsburgh… except the impending flooding.

  10. Do not understand Vegas taking Reeves and helping out Pitts , Vegas are contenders so why help out another strong contender with their cap issue ????

  11. It’s interessting to compare the Brassard and Kessel trades. Although Kessel is a much bigger fish, Toronto and ottawa got about the same return – a first, a good prospect and a 2nd/Harrington. In both cases, Tor/Ott lost a draft position – Ottawa/Pgh flipped 3rd rounders while Toronto gave a second rounder (actually Pgh’s) for a Pgh third rounder. The difference is that Ottawa retained 0 while Toronto retained $7-8 million. Further, Ottawa traded a lesser player signed for a shorter term.

    Winner: Ottawa over Toronto

    PS The trade did not get Tor Mathews or Andersen as Leaf fans like to claim. They don’t know that and it was the future and unknowable at the time anyway.

  12. While Brassard is a nice addition, i’m not sold on Pitts d, i understand they won the cup without Letang last year and subject defense, but can they do it again. I would’ve thought McDonagh be a better acquisition. I still give the edge to TB.

  13. If the rumours of Vegas running interference on the Jets are true, it really makes no sense for three reasons.

    1. How can Ottawa value a 1st round pick from Pittsburgh (likely 28-31) over the Jets (low 20s distinctly possible)? We’re taking a realistic 10 spot difference considering playoff experience.

    2. Why would Vegas want to give an edge to a possible Eastern Conference playoff champion over a team with almost 0 playoff experience and 0 franchise playoff wins. Sure the Jets look legit but they haven’t proven anything yet. Vegas is number one in the league – there goal should bee the cup at this point, not a round or two (I get they have 0 playoff wins too, but they’re clearly not following the script).

    3. Vegas barely got any futures. Sure they’re hot out the gate, but they still need to be stock piling picks and prospects or it won’t last long. That said, maybe some other GM is loony enough to trade a 1st for Reaves…

    • Filip Gustavsson, a very high prospect goalie, was the center piece of the trade.

      Which players were the Jets offering to the Senators for Brassard???

      Other Western Conference teams – Blues, Sharks, and Kings were in the mix???

      • Well for one, Eric Comrie is a pretty highly ranked prospect too.

      • Brassard’s contract contains a partial no trade clause. According to a source the Jets were one of those teams on Brassard’s no trade list.

  14. Looks like cheating or collusion to help Penguins by Vegas. Not liking this at all.

    • McPhee is a huge pens fan fo sho