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Ryan Reaves trade continues to disappoint

June 4, 2019, 4:30 PM ET [36 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Recently the Penguins declined to tender a contract offer to Zachary Lauzon.

It is unfortunate that he has had to deal with head injuries. It’s not a path people dream of when they get drafted by an NHL team. This no doubt played a role in the Penguins decision to let him go.

The reason his free agency is worth discussing is because he was the player selected in the draft pick the Penguins traded down to in the Ryan Reaves trade. It is a trade that gets worse by the day. Especially watching Oskar Sundqvist make contributions to a Blues team two wins away from a Stanley Cup Final.

The injuries are unfortunate, but Lauzon wasn’t tracking towards being a difference maker at the NHL level. I don’t claim to be a prospects expert by any stretch. I’ve never claimed to be. I do however feel strongly that if a player cannot produce offense at the lower levels of hockey it is a red flag for their ability to find success at the upper levels, even for defenseman. Players that aren’t able to generate and stand out in the lower levels aren’t going to do it when things get harder. Players who are able to generate offense at lower levels can still find success at the upper levels even if their offense declines when the competition improves. The reason for this is because they are able to make plays with the puck, just not as many as before. Not being able to produce in the lower levels doesn’t exhibit the ability to create separation or outthink the opposition.

Zachary Lauzon never showed an offensive pulse

From HockeyDB

It’s very strange to me to use second round picks on players with such a limited offensive ceiling. Lauzon wasn’t the first example. Connor Hall was another example of reaching for a low skill defenseman with size. It had the same results as Lauzon

From HockeyDB

These are wasted picks that are dead on arrival. There is no hindsight needed. A team that trades a lot of draft picks can’t be doing this with the selections they do use. There is good news though. The Penguins have gone back to the logical approach of taking a skilled defenseman even if he doesn’t have a lot of size. Calen Addison is producing a lot of offense in the WHL and had two points in three AHL games last year.

From HockeyDB

Addison is no guarantee to be an impact player for the Penguins (or any other NHL team), but there’s evidence he has a pulse and his chances are way better than these “defensive” defenseman that get drafted by NHL teams every year.

Pittsburgh can’t undo the awful Ryan Reaves trade, but at least they can start using their draft picks more wisely.

Thanks for reading!
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