Penguins Trade Brassard to Panthers in Multi-Player Deal
The Pittsburgh Penguins traded centers Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan, along with a second-round pick and two fourth-round picks in the 2019 NHL Draft, to the Florida Panthers for centers Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford makes his much-anticipated move to bolster his depth at forward while moving out Brassard, who struggled as Pittsburgh’s third-line center since joining the club prior to last year’s trade deadline.
As TSN’s Bob McKenzie noted, by taking on pending free agents like Brassard and Sheahan, the Panthers will free up salary-cap space for additional moves in the offseason. It’s rumored they could take a run at signing Columbus Blue Jackets Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky via free agency.
Depending on how Brassard and Sheahan perform with the Panthers, perhaps they might be re-signed after this season provided they seek reasonable new deals. Otherwise, they’ll be allowed to walk on July 1 as the Panthers chase bigger fish in the UFA pool. Perhaps one of them might be flipped elsewhere before the Feb. 25 trade deadline.
McKenzie also said this deal allows the Penguins to swap two players on expiring contracts for two younger players without taking an immediate step backward. Bjugstad is signed through 2020-21 with an annual average value of $4.1 million while McCann is signed through next season with a $1.25-mlllion AAV.
Bjugstad, 26, is a big center (6’6″, 215 pounds) who can also skate on the wing and has two 40-plus point seasons on his resume. He’s been plagued at times by injuries and has just 12 points this season but could regain his offensive touch with the Penguins. McCann, 22, is a two-way center who can also play on the wing.
This move also leaves the Penguins with less than $500K in salary-cap space. If Rutherford has any other moves planned they’ll have to be dollar-for-dollar or he’ll have to dump salary first.