To some extent, making a trade and burning future assets in exchange for help ended up winning in Pittsburgh after all at the NHL Trade Deadline. The Penguins acquired forward Rickard Rakell from the Anaheim Ducks.
Zach Aston-Reese, Dominik Simon, a prospect and a 2022 second-round pick, apparently PIT’s return to ANA over Rickard Rakell. Commercial call not made yet so nothing official for the moment.
— Bobby Margarita (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 21, 2022
Rakell, 28, carries a salary cap of $3.78 million, more than Aston-Reese and Simon combined, so there could be some salary withheld by the Ducks. Final details of the trade, including details about the prospect sent by Pittsburgh, remain unknown as the NHL processes and completes a slew of trades that arrive just before the 2:59:59 p.m. deadline.
For the Pens, it could be a “best of all worlds” trade. He badly needed a forward capable of putting the puck in the net. Rakell is a two-time NHL 30+ goal scorer with 16 goals and 12 assists in 51 games this season.
Ironically, however, for a team that desperately needed someone to finish, Rakell hasn’t always been the sharpest in that area with generally a low shooting percentage in recent seasons.
To add to the list of reasons why this could also be a slow start, Rakell has missed the Ducks’ last three games with injury.
However, one of Rakell’s strengths is his off-the-rush game, which combined with his goalscoring CV suggests he could be a fun player to try out with Evgeni Malkin and probably do what Kasperi Kapanen was supposed to. make.
• Go to the check-in areas
• Attack out of Rush
• Shoot First trend
• Often in good puck support positions
25th in shots off the run, all sit for forwards
— Meghan Chayka (@MeghanChayka) March 21, 2022
Rakell isn’t going to add much defensively, and his stats have been trending down from the 2016-18 high, but maybe that’s due to some team effects.
PIT-traded Rickard Rakell is an average scorer who, uh, struggled to score in the two seasons before this one. Doesn’t really create for himself; he’s best used next to a playing center who can hit him with high-danger passes… #LetsGoPens pic.twitter.com/pc68ZcrYEr
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) March 21, 2022
In return, the Pens are giving up two fringe players on their depth chart in Zach Aston-Reese and Dominik Simon, plus a second-round pick. Aston-Reese will be missed by the PK, although he has proven to be a replaceable part of that group. Speaking of replaceable, Simon has good forward metrics but hasn’t played a huge role and his low stats make him a good candidate to go the other way and not lose too much.
Ultimately, the biggest loss will be this year’s second-round pick, a pick general manager Ron Hextall probably didn’t want to move. However, with his team ready again and looking like one of the best teams in the Metropolitan and Eastern Division, their biggest weakness was needing one more finisher and winger.
Giving up a second-round pick is more than worth adding a player like Rackell, even if it turns out he’s just a hire. He can do things the Penguins need, and unlike other trades in the league, it didn’t cost an outrageous amount of money to add to the team. The Pens will also give up an as-yet-unnamed ‘prospect’, but that doesn’t change much of the calculation of this trade, because frankly, they don’t have a good enough prospect to worry about losing at this point.
For a very long time, it looked like the Pens would choose to go with what they had on hand, but the last-minute move strengthens the team and makes them better for the long haul. Hextall owed this to the team for as well as they have played this season.
Projected playoff lineup
Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker – Evgeni Malkin – Rickard Rakell
Evan Rodrigues-Jeff Carter-Kasperi Kapanen
Danton Heinen – Teddy Blueger – Brock McGinn
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Mike Matheson / John Marino
Marcus Pettersson/Chad Ruhwedel
Reserves: Brian Boyle, Mark Friedman, Nathan Beaulieu, Radim Zohorna
There’s still room to sort the lines accordingly, but if Pittsburgh’s top 9 and even top 12 forwards look really good right now. They will need players like Zucker, Rakell and Kapanen to qualify, but they are also players in good situations right now to do so.
For reported Pittsburgh/Anaheim trade sending Rickard Rakell to Pens
Love it, great addition by Pens, exciting move!
Pretty good trade, pretty excited
Completely neutral on this subject for the moment
I don’t like it, I gave up too much and/or Rakell is not the guy to have
967 votes in total
UPDATE: The trade is announced and confirmed, the previously unknown prospect involved in the deal is 2020 third-round pick Swedish keeper Calle Clang. The Ducks will keep 35% of Rakell’s salary this season, which essentially ties the deal financially with the Simon and Aston-Reese contracts also going to Anaheim.