Photo: Pittsburgh Hockey Now
The Pittsburgh Penguins announced on Friday night that they traded center Nick Bjugstad to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. The Penguins retained 50% of Bjugstad’s $4.1 million cap hit.
According to Strib Sports’ Sarah MacLellan, the pick will transfer to the Penguins if Bjugstad plays in at least 70 games or gets at least 35 points next season.
The 28-year-old has one more year left on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent.
Bjugstad missed four months after undergoing core muscle surgery in November but did not play in the Penguins’ four-game loss in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers to the Montreal Canadiens due to a lower-body injury. He posted a goal and two points in 13 games this season and has posted 97 goals and 207 points in 439 career games with the Penguins and Florida Panthers.
The Penguins acquired Bjugstad and center Jared McCann from the Panthers in exchange for centers Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan, a 2019 second-round pick, and two 2019 fourth-round choices on February 1, 2019.
The Penguins, who acquired forward Kasperi Kapanen, forward Pontus Aberg, and defensive prospect Jesper Lindgren from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for the 15th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, forward Evan Rodrigues, center prospect Filip Hallander, and AHL defenseman David Warsofsky on August 25, have $8,996,492 remaining in NHL salary cap space with 19 players under contract for 2020-21. McCann (RFA), forward Conor Sheary (UFA), forward Patrick Marleau (UFA), defenseman Justin Schultz (UFA), and goaltenders Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry (RFA) are all up for new contracts this offseason.
The Penguins are expected to deal Murray this offseason.
The Wild, who averaged 3.16 goals-per-game (12th) during the regular season, added a center in a low-risk, but potentially high-reward signing in Bjugstad to fill their hole at the second-line center position.
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford told the media after falling in the qualifying round that there will be changes coming to the team this offseason.
By Harrison Brown