The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired forward Jason Zucker in a trade with the Minnesota Wild. They sent Alex Galchenyuk, Calen Addison and a conditional first-round pick for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft to Minnesota in the swap.
If Pittsburgh doesn’t make the post-season, that draft pick becomes a 2021 selection.
“Jason Zucker is a top-six forward that we think will be a great fit for our group,” Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said. “He’s a proven goal scorer, and with three more years on his current contract, he has the potential to make an impact for us moving forward.”
Zucker is a player with term, so that’s right in Pittsburgh’s wheelhouse. He has three years to go on his current contract, carrying an annual cap hit of $5.5 million. The contract carries a modified no-trade clause.
The Newport Beach native was drafted by the Wild in the second round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and has remained with the State of Hockey since. In 456 games, all with Minnesota, Zucker has 132 goals and 111 assists for 243 points. His best season to date was a 64-point campaign in 2017-2018. His totals slipped a bit last season, however, but he’s got 29 points so far this year.
By ridding themselves of Galchenyuk, the Penguins are essentially saying the experiment is over.
The 25-year-old obviously has plenty of hockey in front of him, but things didn’t pan out in Pittsburgh. In 45 games, he has just 17 points. That’s a fair shade of his production in 2018-2019, when he put together 41 points in 72 games for the Coyotes. Prior to that, Galchenyuk was producing at a decent clip in Montreal. He has the potential of being a 50-point player, but he hasn’t scored since mid-January.
The Wild are four points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The 19-year-old Addison is a defenceman with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He was drafted in the second round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft by the Penguins and spent three games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL last season. With Lethbridge this season, Addison has 43 points in 39 games.
The Penguins face the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday, while the Wild will host the Vegas Golden Knights on the same night.
Photo credit: NHL.com