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Insider Only Price Penguins paid for Ryan Reaves looks higher on paper than it actually is

On the Ryan Reaves Acquisition

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is never afraid to pay a price for filling a need and that’s what he did with the Ryan Reaves acquisition on Friday night.

“When you want to get the guy that’s the best at doing what he does then you have to pay a price,” Rutherford said. “Regardless of what we paid, we’re very happy to have him.”

The Penguins in dealing the 31st overall pick and prospect Oskar Sundqvist in return for Reaves and the 51st overall pick has been met with outrage from many in the media, to team bloggers, to the fan base.

Jim Rutherford is being ridiculed like he’s gone back in time to 2014-2015 Rutherford.

Here are the facts.

This trade is really Ryan Reaves for Oskar Sundqvist.

Scouts contend this is a poor draft where prospects 20-90 is a crapshoot. There’s little to no separation at all.

The Penguins moving a first round pick for Reaves looks worse on paper than it actually is. They haven’t lost much of any value moving down 20 spots in this draft, multiple NHL people tell me.

As for Oskar Sunqvist, the narrative of him being this long-term two-way 3rd line shutdown centerman was coming from pundits who have barely watched him nor have good contacts.

Despite an offensive breakout this season in Wilkes Barre, the Penguins top evaluators came to the conclusion that Sundqvist would never be good enough to create his own shot to be an impact centerman at the next level and the Penguins have viewed him as just another projected 4th line player. Penguins coaches also didn’t like the foot speed for a centerman in their system.

If the Penguins truly believed Sundqvist was going to be their answer for years to come as the third line center, they would have never parted with him, sources say.

Sundqvist was also going to struggle to find a regular role the next couple seasons, despite potential openings at center. He’s not better than Scott Wilson right now. Josh Archibald, Carter Rowney are better players at this point. Daniel Sprong is going to be a factor with the NHL club. The organization is very high Zach Aston-Reese who’s close to pushing for NHL time along with Dominik Simon.

From players to coaches in the organization, they are giddy about the Reaves acquisition.

“He’s a guy that brings a physical dimension to our team, which is something that I think can help us moving forward,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “He’s good on the forecheck. He’s a sound two-way player that we can put on the ice.”

Penguin coaches watched a lot of tape on Reaves leading up to Friday night and Mike Sullivan’s confidence that Reaves can play a regular role on the 4th line and a belief there’s some untapped ability Rick Tocchet can get to closed the deal on making this happen.

“I think he’s a good skater. He can get there,” Sullivan said of Reaves skating ability. “We think he can fit right in. The challenge is to try to play the style of play that the Penguins are trying to play and do what he does best, that’s bring that physical dimension to our team.”

Are liberties against the Penguins stars going to come to an end?

Absolutely not.

That’s not the point here.

Yeah, they’ve won two straight Stanley Cups, but the Penguins have had a need to get tougher and add players who can play. Reaves is not some Tom Sestito.

This is a good step and adding toughness in the mold of how the Penguins were built those few years in 2009-2011 when they had the likes of Mike Rupp, Arron Asham, Deryk Engelland on the roster.

At the end of the day, the cost to acquire Reaves looks worse on paper than it actually is.

This is going to be one of those acquisitions where in time fans and pundits will likely realize Oskar Sundqvist is just another 4th line guy and I think by mid-season many will be singing a different tune on what Reaves brings to the Penguins lineup.

What concerns me, though, a bit is Reaves Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

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

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