With the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline just two weeks away and the playoffs approaching, the Minnesota Wild promptly acted on Monday, trading Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins. In exchange for the veteran left-winger, Minnesota acquires winger Alex Galchenyuk, defensemen Calen Addison and a first-round draft pick.
According to Ryan McKenna of Sportsnet.ca, not only is the first-round pick from Pittsburgh to Minnesota on a conditional basis, but if the Penguins don’t qualify for the postseason, there’s an option for the draft pick to be moved from this year’s draft to 2021.
The deal was first reported by TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie who reported the deal in its entirety before club announcements were made respectively. When looking at this deal from the Jason Zucker point of view, McKenzie notes that Zucker, 28, has three more years on his contract beyond this one. With that in mind, he is due to earn an AAV of $5.5 million.
This was later confirmed by Ryan McKenna and capfriendly.com. As noted by Bob McKenzie, given Zucker’s extensive current contract from the Wild, it offsets the loss of a prospect such as Addison and a first-round pick, one unlikely to provide an impact on the Penguins roster for at least two-to-three years.
Starting with defensemen Calen Addison, the 19-year-old Manitoba native has yet to appear in an NHL game despite being drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins 53rd overall back in 2018. The Canadian, weighing in at 5’10, has spent the last five seasons playing with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey league. Through 241 games played, the right-handed shooter has scored 41 goals and 165 assists for 206 points recorded.
As for his season thus far, the two-time All-Stars who hails from Brandon has scored 10 goals and 33 assists for 43 points in 39 games played. According to Bob McKenzie, the Penguins weren’t so keen initially on dealing Addison for Zucker to the Wild. However, they also didn’t want to let go of a first-round pick to make the deal go through. With the Penguins widely known to maximize chances for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the deal saw a chance to add to their roster and a line made up of Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.
As for left-winger Jason Zucker, the 28-year-old has appeared in a total of 456 career NHL games. While he’s spent his career all with the Wild, the Newport, California native has scored 132 goals and 111 assists. This makes for a total of 243 points with Minnesota. Zucker is a King Clancy Trophy winner who has also won the World Juniors with USAHockey on three separate occasions. As well, he won the bronze medal at the U20 World Juniors back in 2011.
He was originally selected by Minnesota in the second round (59th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. According to Michael Russo of The Athletic Minnesota, Zucker would have gone to Pittsburgh last summer had right-winger Phil Kessel waived his no-trade clause. Zucker is currently signed through the 2023 season when his contract expires.
In a statement from Jim Rutherford, general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins, he said, “Jason Zucker is a top-six forward that we think will be a great fit for our group. He’s a proven goal scorer, and with three more years on his current contract, he has the potential to make an impact for us moving forward.”
Joining Calen Addison going to Minnesota is Wisconsin native and centreman Alex Galchenyuk. Galchenyuk, 25-years-old, has played eight seasons in the NHL, six of which he spent in Montreal before being traded to the Arizona Coyotes. Taking a look at his performance last year, the left-handed shooter scored 19 goals for 41 points in 72 games played. Comparing his numbers this season, Alex Galchenyuk has struggled mightily, scoring five goals for 17 points, this being the case through 45 games played.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, Alex Galchenyuk, a left-handed shooter, is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. With both teams playing games on Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins are currently second in the Metropolitan Division with a 34-15-5 record. As well, the rejuvenated Penguins are four points behind the division-leading Washington Capitals.
On the front of the Minnesota Wild, the team is 26-23-6 and are four points out of the second wild-card spot. This of course being the case in the midst of a decidedly tough Western Conference. Following their 3-2 victory on Saturday, the Pittsburgh Penguins are back in action on Tuesday as they play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning with puck drop scheduled for 7:00pmET. The game can be seen on TVA Sports and AT&T SportsNet, meanwhile, it can be heard on 105.9 The X.
As for Bill Guerin’s team, following their 3-2 loss on Sunday, the Minnesota Wild are back in action on Tuesday as they play host to the Vegas Golden Knights with puck drop scheduled for 8:00pmET. The game can be seen on Fox Sports North and AT&T SportsNet, meanwhile, it can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM.