In case you missed it last night, the Minnesota Wild have traded forward Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk, a 2020 first-round pick and Calen Addison.
Check it out:
Zucker has been in trade rumors for well over a calendar year now. The 28 year old has 14 goals and 29 points in 45 games for the Wild so far this season. The early reaction is that Wild GM Bill Guerin did VERY well for himself in this trade by not only acquiring a 1st round pick, but also a promising prospect in Calen Addison and a useful player in Alex Galchenyuk, as well.
Galchenyuk, of course, was acquired by Penguins GM Jim Rutherford in exchange for superstar Phil Kessel this past offseason. The 25 year old former 3rd overall pick has struggled mightily in Pittsburgh though, putting up just five goals and 17 points in 45 games. Still, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford had nothing but good things to say about Galchenyuk's time in Pittsburgh.
When asked why Galchenyuk never seemed to find his stride as a member of the Penguins, Rutherford said:
"Well, a little bit of an explanation. His type of play might not have fit our style. That might be part of it, but the fact of the matter is, he was hurt at camp. He didn't tell anybody. He had a bad groin. He tried to play through it. He finally had to admit it. Then he missed games. He got behind. He never caught up. I think he was trying so hard that it was just a confidence thing. But he handled himself well. He was a good guy. He never complained. He worked really hard all the time. So I'm hoping for his sake that a change is going to help his career going forward."
Classy words from Rutherford. And you know what? He might be on to something. Galchenyuk is still just 25 years old and he's a former 30 goal scorer at the NHL level. It's clear the guy has some skill, but he just hasn't been able to show it the past couple seasons. Here's hoping another change of scenery helps get him back on the right track.
Again, in case you missed last night's trade, read below for the full press release announcement:
The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired forward Jason Zucker from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk, Calen Addison and a conditional 2020 first-round draft pick, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
Zucker is signed through the 2022-23 season and his contract carries an average annual value of $5.5 million.
"Jason Zucker is a top-six forward that we think will be a great fit for our group," said Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford. "He's a proven goal scorer, and with three more years on his current contract, he has the potential to make an impact for us moving forward."
The 28-year-old Zucker currently ranks sixth on Minnesota this season with 29 points (14G-15A) in 45 games. Zucker's 14 goals are tied for third on the Wild, while his five power-play goals are tied for second on the team.
The 5-foot-11, 192-pound winger has notched 132 goals, 111 assists and 243 points in 456 NHL games, all with Minnesota, and is a career plus-21. He ranks in the top-15 on many of the Wild's all-time lists, including games played (12th), goals (4th), assists (14th), points (9th), and game-winning goals (5th). The Newport Beach, California native has also appeared in 31 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with Minnesota where he's picked up eight points (4G-4A).
In 2017-18, Zucker enjoyed career-highs in games played (82), goals (33), assists (31) and points (64). He has reached the 40-point mark in each of the past three seasons.
In addition to his on-ice performance, Zucker was the recipient of the 2018-19 King Clancy Memorial Trophy. The award is presented annually "to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community." Zucker and his wife, Carly, were recognized for their various charitable efforts throughout the Minneapolis area during his tenure with the Wild.
Drafted in the second round (59th overall) in the 2010 NHL Draft, Zucker has appeared internationally for the United States on multiple occasions. He played in three World Junior championships, winning a gold medal in 2010 and a bronze medal in 2011. He served as captain of the 2012 U.S. World Junior squad, registering seven points (3G-4A) in six games.
Prior to his time in the NHL, Zucker played two seasons at the University of Denver of the NCAA, where he tallied 91 points (45G-46A) in 78 games. He also played two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program from 2008-10.