The Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers hooked up for a big trade this afternoon. Pittsburgh dealt centers Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan to the Panthers for Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann. The deal also included two fourth-round picks from the Penguins and their second-round pick.
TRADE ALERT: The Penguins have acquired forwards Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan and three draft picks.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 1, 2019
Pittsburgh Penguins Acquire Nick Bjugstad, Jared McCann From Florida Panthers
Brassard had been rumored to be on the trade block for a few weeks as he wasn’t living up to expectations in Pittsburgh. He was acquired at last year’s deadline from the Ottawa Senators and since then, he had only 12 goals in 54 games. He was at below replacement level this season so it was no surprise that the Penguins were dangling him.
Sheahan was also at replacement level this season. He only had nine points in 49 games as the fourth line center and his possession numbers were under 43%. The thinking in this trade from Pittsburgh’s end is to get younger players with term who can help them win now for two players on expiring contracts who weren’t going to be there after the season.
On Florida’s end, this saves them some money and for a potential run at Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brassard could still be flipped at the deadline if Florida is out of the playoff picture at that time:
As we talked about yesterday, Florida hopes to take a run at Panarin and Bobrovsky so after today’s trade they have more flexibility to do it. And while they could wait until July 1 to go after them, they could also inquire before Feb 25 if something makes sense… so stay tuned
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) February 1, 2019
Bjugstad is having a rough go at it this season. He has just five goals and 12 points on the season. It sounds like he’s going to start as the 3C though, which could put him with Phil Kessel. McCann will also be in the bottom six, according to Josh Yohe of The Athletic:
Bjugstad will start as the third line center but GMJR said he could shift to wing at some point. Penguins love McCann in a bottom-six role. He's only 22, former first round pick. Love his potential.
— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_PGH) February 1, 2019
Acquiring both of these players for Pittsburgh well before the deadline will allow them to get more comfortable with the team as the stretch run begins.
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 27: Nick Bjugstad #27 of the Florida Panthers skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on October 27, 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Panthers 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)