And there it is the Pittsburgh Penguins have decided to move on from Derick Brassard one year after acquiring him and electing not to keep him for the 2019 playoff run. It was a disappointing trade for the Penguins. Derick Brassard did not come close to meeting expectations. I am plenty critical of Jim Rutherford, but I do not hold this trade against him. It made sense. It didn’t work. It happens.
Here is the trade with Florida
There is a lot to like about this. The Penguins get another shot at a third line center who is not a rental. If Nick Bjugstad doesn’t work out they will be in the same spot they were already in. If it does work the Penguins have Bjugstad for another season which is one less thing to worry about in the offseason. At 4.1M the price is fair.
This works because Florida is cheap and they don’t want mid-tier contracts on their books with players that are not deemed part of the core. They get salary relief for next year while acquiring a third line center to help with their long shot playoff hopes. This is a nice situation for the Penguins and Rutherford took advantage of it. It is also not a bad idea to target Dale Tallon when making trades. He’s got that old school swagger ie: limited in player evaluations.
I shared Travis Yost’s article earlier today talking about how Brayden Schenn would be a buy low target for teams. I believe Bjugstad fits the bill here as well. On the left you will see 2018-19 Bjugstad and on the right you will see 2016-19 Bjugstad
We have a larger sample of Bjugstad being an effective player than we do of him not. He is 26 years old so age regression should not be a concern here. Again, this is a nice buy low situation for the Penguins.
Even on the passing front Bjugstad appears to be in the neighborhood with Brassard
The negatives with Bjugstad are his ability to play full seasons and his speed. The speed thing might not be an issue. Nobody was confusing Nick Bonino with Connor McDavid out there. My impression of Bjugstad has been a big guy who isn’t necessarily physical, but can shoot the puck like a missile and has decent hands. The Penguins can make that work. He did play all 82 games last year which was a first. He has missed 16 games so far this year.
As for the other portion of the trade Riley Sheahan continued to be the player he was in the latter stages of his Detroit career. Very limited offensively and quite frankly if he wasn’t up for being the third line center you can’t be paying 2.1M for the 4C role. There isn’t enough money in Pittsburgh’s budget to do that. Jared McCann is no worse and half the price
Another benefit of McCann to Sheahan is that McCann is 22 years old so there is a little bit of potential for growth considering a forwards prime is 24-26. Sheahan is what he is.
There are draft picks involved including a 2nd round pick, but who cares? Win now means win now and this team is far beyond waiting for draft picks to develop.
All in all I like the deal. The Penguins got rid of a player who wasn’t working and an expensive luxury. In exchange they get another chance at finding a player who can fit and has term with Bjugstad. They get a fourth line replacement for Sheahan at about half the cost.
If the trade doesn’t work I’ll feel the same way I do about the original Brassard one. It made sense. It didn’t work. It happens.
Thanks for reading!