PENGUINS TRADE FOR LAPIERRE
The Pittsburgh seeking a different type of 4th line center who has size and plays with a nasty edge, acquired center Maxim Lapierre (6-2, 215) from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Marcel Goc, following tonight’s 5-3 win over the Jets.
Lapierre has 2 goals and 9 points in 45 games for the Blues. It was a near even money swap with Lapierre and Goc in the final years of their contract and both making $1.2 million this season, Lapierre carrying a $1.1 million cap hit. It’s a trade between two contenders for players who have been bad this season.
On the surface, the Blues are getting the better player in Goc. He’s a third line capable player who plays against stronger competition than Lapierre and is just a much better rounded player in about all facets.
One problem for Goc in Pittsburgh was his quality of linemates, last year playing with Tanner Glass and Craig Adams, and this season his most common linemates had been Zach Sill and Adams. A knock on Goc, though, is how passive of a player he is. He’s not hard to play against and has little nastiness in his game.
The advance stats people will love this trade for St. Louis and the Penguins are getting a lesser player in Lapierre who will be limited to playing 4th line competition, but they’re also getting a player who adds more to areas they lack that stats don’t measure, notably being hard to play against.
If your fourth line is going to include a Craig Adams or Zach Sill who provide no offensive ability, you might as well go with a poor puck possession 4th line center in the mold of Lapierre who plays with a nasty edge and even recklessness at times. That’s what the Penguins have determined with the increased physical play in the Eastern Conference as any hope of having a scoring 4th line has been thrown out the window once this group is fully healthy with Lapierre and Craig Adams set to be 2/3 of the 4th line.
“He’s a big guy,” Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said of Lapierre. “He plays with energy, he plays with an edge at times….. It seems that we’re getting into more physical games than I would have expected. He will help the group of guys that we already have. He’s a hard guy to play against, especially once you get into a playoff series.”
On the trade front, Penguins management had been on the lookout for depth players with a past playoff pedigree and Rutherford said that factored in with Lapierre who has appeared in 75 career playoff games.
“His playoff experience factored in,” Rutherford said. “He’s had a couple of real good runs in the playoffs.”