The Pittsburgh Penguins pull the trigger on a trade bringing Carl Hagelin to Pittsburgh.
The trade comes as the Penguins find themselves in 10th place in the Eastern Conference and currently out of a playoff spot. Let’s analyze the trade and see if this trade can help the Pens going forward.
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Penguins fans should remember Hagelin from his time with the New York Rangers. He is the one who scored the overtime, series clinching goal during game 5 of the teams’ first round matchup last year.
Hagelin is well-known for his speed and penalty killing ability. He should compliment the team’s already excellent short-handed unit.
A CBS New York article highlights the skills Hagelin brings to the team, describing him as “one of the league’s premier penalty killers, one of the fastest skaters on the planet and — of huge importance — a possession driver.”
Despite all the positives, there are some reservations with the acquisition. Hagelin has underperformed so far this season, with only four goals and eight assists in 43 games. That’s not welcome news on a Pens team that most agree has underperfomed in recent years.
Additionally, Hagelin has a higher price tag for the cap-conscious Penguins, at $4,000,000 a year. However, it offers control of a quality winger through the 2018-19 season.
In Perron, the Penguins lose someone who is still well regarded for his shot and stick handling. He has great hands and a quick shot. However, his time in Pittsburgh has not lived up to the first-round pick the Pens gave up for him.
So far this season, Perron only has four goals to go along with 12 assists. That is underwhelming production, especially since he spent a decent amount of time on the Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin lines.
Perron will be a unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and the Penguins have paid just over $2 million of this $3.8 million annual salary.
The Penguins lose a little less in Clendening, who has only played in nine games for Pittsburgh this season. He compiled zero goals, one assist, and a +3 rating in that time.
While Clendening hasn’t lit up the score sheet, the Penguins may miss his value. He was a serviceable defenseman with a cap hit of less than $800,000. However, he will be a restricted free agent at the end of the year.
This trade consists of two talented players who have been underperforming. The Penguins have sacrificed some potential scoring in Perron and extra depth in Clendening, in exchange for speed and possession in Hagelin.
Personally, I feel the trade will benefit the Penguins. Perron has been ineffective on the left wing this season and Hagelin’s speed will fit well into Mike Sullivan‘s up-tempo style.
Additionally, Hagelin’s $4 million per year is nearly identical to the just over $3.8 million they were paying to Perron, and the added control is good for some much needed stability in the Penguins lines.
While the loss of defensive depth is a little concerning, I think the trade helps the Penguins overall. The speed that Hagelin provides will hopefully make the team harder to defend and open up the ice for the offense.
If Hagelin can find some of his offense that he had while with the Rangers, combined with his great speed and possession attributes, then the Penguins should become a stronger team as they look to make a playoff push in the second half of the season.