Everyone expected it to be done ahead of the trade deadline, and it seems to have happened.
TSN's Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie were the first to report that the Pittsburgh Penguins have traded centre Derick Brassard to the Florida Panthers. Players are reportedly being informed at the moment.
The Pens are trading Brassard and Riley Sheahan, along with a second round pick and two fourth round picks in 2019 in return for Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann.
Four centremen are being moved in this major transaction.
McKenzie explains on his Twitter account that the key for the Panthers in this trade is clearing salary to potentially take a run at both star forward Artemi Panarin and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, when both Columbus Blue Jackets become free agents this summer.
Brassard, who is 31 years old and slated to hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent this upcoming offseason, had also been linked to the Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, Boston Bruins, Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens in trade chatter in recent weeks. He was, of course, acquired by the Penguins in a three way deal with the Ottawa Senators and Vegas Golden Knights at least year’s trade deadline.
Brassard is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July and carries a $3 million cap hit, since Vegas retained $2 million in salary as part of the three-team deal that landed him in Pittsburgh last year.
Sheahan was acquired by the Penguins last season at the trade deadline. He has tallied seven goals and nine points in 49 games this season in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins acquired two centremen in return. 26-year-old Bjugstad has amassed five goals and 12 points in 32 games so far this season. He tallied 19 goals and a career-high 49 points in 82 games with Florida last season.
At for the young McCann, he has eight goals and 18 points in 46 points this season.
Bjugstad is signed through the 2020.21 campaign and he carries an average annual value of $4.1 million along with a no-trade clause in the last year of his deal. McCann is signed through the 2019-20 season and he carries an average annual value of $1.25 million.