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Trade Analysis: What Bjugstad, McCann bring to the table; Penguins Personnel Shift, Risky Philosophy & the Wildcard of the deal


PIT Receives: Nick Bjugstad, Jared McCann
FLA Receives: Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan, 2019 2nd RD Pick, 2019 4th RD Pick (PIT), 2019 4th RD Pick (MIN)

There was growing momentum in league circles when Derick Brassard was scratched Wednesday night that he had played his last game as a Penguin.

Indeed that became the case when Jim Rutherford today shipped Brassard, Riley Sheahan along with three draft picks to the Florida Panthers for Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann. This is a deal the Penguins internally are thrilled about.

As discussions over the summer began of an organizational shift in acquiring players with more size, effectiveness along the wall, Nick Bjugstad became a top target even prior to the 2018 draft. Pittsburgh thinks so highly of Bjugstad that the Penguins even approached Florida about a deal centered around Phil Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

— Is Bjugstad the Penguins long-term third line center?

It’s where he’ll start but not even the Penguins are certain of that.

Scouts and coaches like him on the wing better (from getting the most production out of him standpoint), where a high-end center can bring out Bjugstad’s skillset much more so than Bjugstad can himself in being the 1A or 1B option as the third line center. There’s some good offensive tools that come out best when he’s paired up with higher-end players and his strengths of creating scoring chances off the wall are more equipped when he’s at the wing. There’s just some little things where his game flashes more as a winger.

That’s not to say Bjugstad’s isn’t a capable third line center. He certainly is but if you’re looking for a reincarnation of Nick Bonino or Jordan Staal, he’s not that type of player. Bjugstad does not kill penalties nor show a willingness to put his body on the line for a blocked shot like Bonino would, nor is he a shutdown physically powering type Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

On the surface, it stands out as a smart philosophy for this management group with this core now in their 30’s. But are they betting on the right players?

There is some risk with 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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