Pittsburgh Penguins Acquire Jason Zucker From Minnesota Wild

Jason Zucker
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 25: Jason Zucker #16 of the Minnesota Wild skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on November 25, 2019 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Wild 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Wild traded left winger Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday in exchange for winger Alex Galchenyuk, defensive prospect Calen Addison and a 2020 first-round draft pick.

Jason Zucker Traded to The Pittsburgh Penguins for Alex Galchenyuk, Calen Addison and a First Round Pick

Key Player – Jason Zucker

The Minnesota Wild is the only home Jason Zucker has known over his eight-year NHL Career. Zucker has put up 132 goals and 111 assists for 243 career points in 456 career games played. This season he has 14 goals and 29 points in 45 games. Zucker also has a 47.7 percent Corsi-For and -1.7 relative Corsi. He was originally drafted in the second round, 59thoverall of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Wild.

Last season, Zucker scored 21 goals and 21 assists for 42 points in 81 games played. He also added 28 minutes in penalties. His possession numbers were 53.2 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of 3.4.

Zucker and the Wild have made the playoffs during five of his eight seasons. In 31 career NHL playoff games, Zucker has four goals and four assists for eight career playoff points. He added six minutes in penalties.

Alex Galchenyuk

Alex Galchenyuk was the third overall draft choice by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. In his first six seasons with the Canadiens, Galchenyuk collected 265 points. Montreal traded Galchenyuk in 2018 to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Max Domi. During his first season in Arizona, Galchenyuk has gathered 41 points in 72 games. Nevertheless, he struggled to further develop his two-way play.

The Coyotes decided to move on from Galchenyuk with trading him only a year after they acquired him from Montreal. The Pittsburgh Penguins traded Phil Kessel to Arizona in the summer of 2019. The deal included Galchenyuk headed to Pittsburgh. With the Penguins, Galchenyuk collected only five goals and 17 points in 45 games. Many times, the American forward with Russian roots has been demoted to the fourth line. Galchenyuk is a versatile left-shot forward, who can play center, as well. He is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and it is possible the rebuilding Wild could flip him for more picks and prospects ahead of the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline.

Calen Addison

Addison was the #2 ranked Penguins Prospect in Ben Kerr’s Summer TSP Series.  Kerr had this to say on Addison.

Born April 11th, 2000 — Brandon, Manitoba
Height 5’10” — Weight 181 lbs [178 cm/82 kg]
Drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2nd round, #53 overall at the 2018 NHL Draft

Addison had another solid season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL. His numbers were nearly identical to his draft year, putting up 11 goals and 65 points in 67 games. Addison also added two goals and nine points in seven playoff games. Following the conclusion of the Hurricanes season, he joined Wilke-Barre/Scranton, putting up two assists in three AHL games.

Skating

Addison is an outstanding skater. This helps him to play a two-way game, and be effective at both ends of the ice. He is one of the fastest skaters in junior, and shows this both forwards and backwards. His edgework, agility and pivots are also elite. Addison covers a ton of ice. He can transition quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. Addison can join the rush or pinch in at the blue line and still get back defensively. When a turnover is created, he transitions to offence extremely quickly. There are some issues with power and balance though, as he can sometimes be knocked off the puck, or have trouble winning battles in the corners or in front of the net. Addison could use more core muscle.

Offensive Game

Addison has very good vision and passing skills, with the ability to start the transition game and play the point on the powerplay. He uses his stickhandling ability to quickly change angles and open up a passing lane to a teammate even when defenders close in on him. He loves to drive offence and jumps into the play, both off the rush and pinching at the blue line. Addison also has the stickhandling ability to skate the puck out of danger, and even to lead the rush.

Addison also has a very good snapshot and wrist shot. He gets them both off very quickly, with an excellent release. He sneaks down from the line, to get in position to use these shots from the top of the circle or slot. They can surprise goalies and have good power. His slap shot is good, but not great. Most importantly, is the fact that Addison gets his shots through traffic and on the net. His skating and poise allow him to walk the line and open up shooting lanes to get off those shots.

Defensive Game

Defensively, Addison maintains good gap control and is not afraid to be physical. Addison throws hits in the corners and battles for position in front of the net. However, his size is an issue. He can be overpowered, even at the junior level. Controlling opponents in the cycle is an issue. He needs to work on adding more muscle to his frame. This can lead to him getting pinned in his end if he is unable to create a turnover. Addison really improved his game by cutting down his turnovers this past season. He can sometimes try to do too much offensively but did a much better job of picking his spots this season.

Outlook

Addison should head back to Lethbridge for his final junior campaign. He should also compete for a spot on Team Canada’s blue line at the World Juniors, but that is a place where the competition will be fierce. He is likely a couple of years away from being ready for the NHL, also needing some time in the AHL.

 

What This Means For the Penguins Future

Zucker is only 28 years old. He has the potential to have many great offensive years left in the NHL. He had the best season of his career in 2017-18 with 64 points in 82 games. If he can find the magic he did that season, he will be a great addition to the Penguins. He is capable of playing on the top line against other team’s top lines. Zucker averaged 17:05 of ice time last season and but has been down to 15:54 this year.

 

Main Photo: NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 25: Jason Zucker #16 of the Minnesota Wild skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on November 25, 2019 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Wild 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

3 COMMENTS

    • Could potentially see the same type of deal for Kreider. A first and a solid prospect seems like a starting point. Kreider is a better player than Zucker but the big thing with Zucker is he has 3.5 years left so he isn’t just a rental. That likely drove the price up more than a pure rental would have.

  1. I like this deal for both teams. Zucker could have gotten a late 1st round pick as a rental alone, never mind having three more seasons. Addison is a great looking prospect, but won’t be in the league as a regular for a couple years, yet.

    Definitely provides a time frame the Wild are looking at if they continue to move pieces. Not sure if they’ll get anything for Galchenyuk, but that doesn’t matter much. He’s gone next season in any case, so bringing an asset back is just a bonus.

    Then again, maybe the move is what he needed and the Wild make a run for that last playoff spot – it’s only five points away, and they do have a couple games in hand. Unlikely, but so is everything else in the Western Conference.

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