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Insider Only Latest Pens Buzz: Fallout of Brassard Deal, Is Riley Sheahan safe at the deadline?

Fallout of the Derick Brassard Acquisition

Thanks to a helping hand from the Vegas Golden Knights, the Derrick Brassard trade was as complex as it gets for 69 year old Penguins GM Jim Rutherford.

“This is the most complex trade I’ve made,” Rutherford said following the Penguins 6-1 win vs the floundering Hurricanes. “We thought we had the deal made earlier in the day. It wasn’t made. We had to make a couple of changes and go through all those things. It took quite a bit longer than most.”

Last week Pittsburgh starting setting the wheels in motion to potentially trade Ryan Reaves to Vegas that had no connection to Derick Brassard at the time, but in the days leading up to Friday’s trade, the perfect storm happened for Pittsburgh where Vegas was willing to keep 40% of Brassard’s salary/cap hit to help facilitate the deal.

Some executives are livid about the deal.

One NHL exec frustrated with the setup of the trade feels Pittsburgh got more from Vegas than just a lending hand on Brassard.

“Just watch…..they’ll [Pittsburgh Penguins] even find a way to resurrect the Lindberg kid, ” the NHL source said.

— Vegas GM George McPhee on the deal:

“I thought it was a good deal for our hockey club,” McPhee said via the review journal. “We had salary cap space to do it.”

The growing consensus is McPhee decided to help out an old friend in Rutherford to prevent Brassard from going West. The Golden Knights, though, really like Reaves and St. Louis was forced to protect Reaves in the expansion draft last June because they believed Vegas was going to select Reaves.

As for McPhee possibly wanting to keep Brassard from going west, it became known early Friday that Ottawa preferred to deal with Winnipeg, but league sources said early yesterday the Jets were not among the 23 teams on Brassard’s initial list from December he would accept a trade to, therefore, talks with the Penguins got really heated Thursday night and into Friday morning.

“We heard there was some talk about him going [West],” McPhee said. “Materially, was that part of the deal? No.”

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With the Brassard addition, the Penguins would seem to be set with Riley Sheahan as the 4th line center but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Sheahan very likely will stay, but industry chatter is the Penguins are not fully committed to keeping Sheahan at the deadline as interest has spiked from multiple teams and a source says Sheahan’s projected salary of $2.25-$2.5 million next season could also be a factor in the Penguins thinking with Bryan Rust, Patric Hornqvist, Jamie Oleksiak among the higher priority players needing new deals next year.

The Penguins are certainly listening to inquiries on Sheahan, league sources confirm.

And for whatever reason, Jim Rutherford hasn’t given up on bringing Matt Cullen back, Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access" management is said to have a level of concern about Crosby’s caliber of wingers if Guentzel stays on the third line, so you never know.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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