The Pittsburgh Penguins announced on Monday night that they have acquired forward Jason Zucker from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for center Alex Galchenyuk, defenseman Cale Addison, and a conditional 2020 first-round pick. If the Penguins miss the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the pick becomes a first-rounder in 2021.
Zucker, who has 14 goals, 29 points, and a -3 rating in 45 games this season, replaces forward Jake Guentzel, who is out for the remainder of the regular season after undergoing shoulder surgery on December 31. The 28-year-old recorded at least 21 goals and 42 points in each of the past three seasons, including setting career-highs with 33 goals and 64 points in 82 games in 2017-18.
In 456 career NHL games, the 59th overall pick of the 2010 Draft by the Wild has posted 132 goals, 243 points, and a +21 rating. In 31 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, Zucker has recorded four goals, eight points, and a -9 rating. He won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which is given to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community, last season.
After this season, Zucker will have three years remaining on a five-year contract that carries a $5.5 million cap hit.
After being acquired in the trade with the Arizona Coyotes involving forward Phil Kessel last June, Galchenyuk has struggled with the Penguins with just five goals, 17 points, and a -7 rating in 45 games. The 25-year-old has recorded 132 goals, 313 points, and a -60 rating in 535 career NHL games with the Penguins, Coyotes, and Montreal Canadiens, who drafted him third overall in 2012.
Addison, 19, has posted 10 goals, 43 points, and a +8 rating in 39 games with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes and one goal, nine points, and a +4 rating in seven games with Canada at the World Juniors this season. The Penguins drafted him 53rd overall in 2018.
The Penguins currently average 3.30 goals-per-game, which is tied with the Boston Bruins for sixth in the NHL this season, and adding Zucker bolsters an extremely talented forward group. They are second in the Metropolitan Division with 73 points, four behind the Washington Capitals with two games in hand.
The Penguins’ first-round pick in 2019 was their first in five seasons and they may not own one this June.
By Harrison Brown