The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired defenceman Jamie Oleksiak from the Dallas Stars for a 2019 fourth-round draft pick, the team announced on Tuesday.
The Pittsburgh Penguins defence has been rather inconsistent as of late. There have been performances where we held teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning to only two goals, and there have been games where we let a team like the Colorado Avalanche score four on us.
One thing was clear, the Penguins needed a shake-up on the blue-line and Jim Rutherford knew that too. The acquisition of Oleksiak signifies a few things, but it surely means that the Pens are trying to clean up this mess of a defensive core.
So what does Jamie Oleksiak bring to this team?
Don’t Expect Much Scoring
First things first, Oleksiak isn’t much of an offensive defenceman. In 144 NHL games, all with the Dallas Stars, the 25-year-old has put up seven goals and 22 points.
If you’re looking for another offensive breakout from a defenceman like Justin Schultz experienced last season, don’t expect it from Oleksiak.
But He’s a Big Body
Oh yes he is. At 6’7 and 255 lbs, Oleksiak is a beast on the blue line and will be sure to throw his weight around. He is definitely an offensive defenceman and we can use the size at the point.
He moves the puck well and he really has a great hockey IQ. After going 14th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and being just 25 years of age, there is still a lot of potential in him to take advantage of his size and really maximize his defensive plays.
Where Will He Fit In
With Justin Schultz gone for a couple of more weeks, Oleksiak’s position on this team is questionable. He is definitely a third pairing defenceman right now and I don’t expect him playing any higher than that.
Honestly, it looks like the arrival of Oleksiak may end up being the departure of Ian Cole. Until Schultz returns, Brian Dumoulin and Kris Letang seem to be a set first-pair and Olli Maatta will be with Chad Ruhwedel. That leaves Matt Hunwick and Ian Cole’s spots, which I think is where Oleksiak will fit.