After doing the flirting with Zucker since the summer, nearly acquiring for Phil Kessel, and continuing to flirt with him all season long, the Penguins finally did the deed and traded for Jason Zucker.
Galchenyuk getting shipped out is far from surprising, but including Calen Addison is quite an addition to the (lottery protected) first round pick.
As The Bobfather mentions, Zucker is signed at $5.5M through the 2022-23 season. But more importantly, this keeps the Crosby, Malkin, Letang window open even more.
With Zucker, the Penguins get a fast, straight line, skilled player that plays well at both ends of the ice.
His driving of offense has seen a bit of a dip this season, but historically he’s been very good and there’s reason to believe that riding shotgun alongside Sidney Crosby instead of Eric Staal, that dip will subside.
The 28 year old currently has 14 goals and 15 assists for 29 points through 45 games this season. Seven of those 14 goals and 11 of his assists have come at 5v5. Of those 11 assist, 8 have been primaries.
His shares of shot-based metrics are all sub-50% at 5v5, but when he has been on the ice this season, the Wild have controlled 50.12% of the scoring chances and 53.09% of the high danger chances, via Natural Stat Trick. His goaltenders, though, haven’t been able to make a save with him on the ice, giving him an on-ice SV% of 89.60%.
For a team that’s missing a 40 goal scorer in Jake Guentzel, grabbing a player like Zucker, who scored 33 goals just two seasons ago, to fill that void is a great addition no matter the cost.
And to do so without having to move a real roster player is even better, even if they had to spend a little bit more to get the player they ultimately wanted 7 months ago.
Either way, the Penguins are a better team today than they were yesterday.