Penguins pick up Brassard, trade Cole in 3-team deal
Raleigh, N.C. — The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired center Derick Brassard from Ottawa on Friday night in a three-team deal that sent defenseman Ian Cole (Ann Arbor) to Ottawa and forward Ryan Reaves to the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Penguins announced the deal Friday night during their 6-1 victory at Carolina, with Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford calling it “the most complex trade I’ve made” because of salary cap issues and the involvement of a third team.
The Senators also received goalie Filip Gustavsson and the Penguins’ first-round draft pick this year as well as their third-round selection next year. Pittsburgh also acquired a pair of prospects — forward Vincent Dunn from Ottawa and forward Tobias Lindberg from Vegas — plus Ottawa’s third-round pick this year.
Vegas also received a fourth-round pick this year, and is retaining 40 percent of Brassard’s salary. According to the Penguins, Brassard is signed through next season with an average annual salary of $5 million.
Rutherford said when he had been asked previously about acquiring Brassard, “the answer’s always been, ‘No,’ because we really didn’t think we could figure out how to fit him under the cap.”
The 30-year-old Brassard had 18 goals and 20 assists in 58 games for the Senators this season. He has 159 goals and 261 assists in 702 regular-season games in 11 seasons with Columbus, the New York Rangers and the Senators.
Pittsburgh is trying to become the first team since the 1982-83 New York Islanders to win three straight Stanley Cups. Brassard figures to slide in as the third-line center behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
“We’ve tried to get more depth at center and get more insurance there,” Rutherford said. “Our centers have played pretty well, but you’ve got to have a lot of strength at center and we just felt we had a chance to get a guy like this, this was a good addition.”
The 29-year-old Cole had three goals and 10 assists in 47 games for Pittsburgh this season. He has played eight seasons with St. Louis Pittsburgh, helping the Penguins win the last two Stanley Cup titles.
The 31-year-old Reeves had four goals and four assists in 58 games this season for the Penguins, and is one of the league’s pre-eminent fighters. According to Hockeyfights.com, Reaves has had 62 regular-season fights in his career with St. Louis and Penguins. He’s been in six fights this season.
“He’s a unique player,” Vegas general manager George McPhee told reporters during a first-intermission news conference during the Golden Knights’ game against Vancouver. “Tough guys in this league, many of them are obsolete because they can’t play. This guy can play, and he will be able to help us out. We picked up a fourth round pick along the way.”
Later, McPhee said the Golden Knights added “two assets that we think will help the hockey club.”
The 19-year-old Gustavsson plays for Lulea in the Swedish league.