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Pittsburgh Penguins Acquire Rickard Rakell

Pittsburgh Penguins Rickard Rakell

The end of the trade deadline was looming, and the Pittsburgh Penguins hadn’t made many moves. They added defensive depth in trading for Nathan Beaulieu, but fans were watching for a trade to bolster the offense. Specifically, the organization needed help on the wings. Just before the deadline ended, general manager Ron Hextall pulled the trigger to acquire winger Rickard Rakell.

Evaluating the Rakell Trade

Pittsburgh Penguins Rickard Rakell

Image Courtesy of Debora Robinson/Getty Images

The official trade was Dominik Simon, Zach Aston-Reese, goaltending prospect Calle Clang and a 2022 second round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for Rakell. Rakell has played in a total of 550 games in the NHL with 154 goals and 339 points. In this season, he’s played 51 games for the Ducks, amassing 16 goals and 28 points.

Both Aston-Reese and Simon have been primarily used as depth pieces, but Aston-Reese has played a huge part of the fourth line this season. Along with Teddy Blueger and Brock McGinn, they provided some of the soundest defense the organization has seen from forwards in quite some time. However, when the return is Rakell, the trade couldn’t make more sense.

Aston-Reese will likely be replaced by Radim Zohorna for the time being, at least until Brock McGinn returns from his injury. It’s safe to say the fourth line will recover from Aston-Reese’s departure. The organization also has quite a few goaltending prospects. Because of this, trading Clang wasn’t too bad for the future of the team. All things considered, the most valuable asset the team lost in the trade is the second-round draft pick.

The Future of this Season

The team’s depth is looking amazing at the moment. Rakell will likely be placed on the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust. That means, when the team is healthy, the third line consists of Jeff Carter, Kasperi Kapanen and Jason Zucker. This means that Danton Heinen will probably be moved to the fourth line. Ideally, his presence is able to generate more offense when paired with Blueger and McGinn.

Pittsburgh Penguins Rickard Rakell
Image Courtesy of Pittsburgh Penguins

When the rest of the team is taken into consideration, things are looking pretty good. The defense has been fairly solid this year with no obvious or real weaknesses. The goaltending has also been stellar for most of this season with the standout being Tristan Jarry. With 2.28 goals against average and .922 save percentage, he’s obviously bounced back.

This team has all the makings of one that could go far in the playoffs. The depth, which makes or breaks teams, is there. Hextall could’ve rectified the team’s scoring troubles with the acquisition of Rakell. If both the defense and goaltending continue to play as they have, then not much is going to get past them. While this is entirely speculation, the upcoming months could be very exciting for the organization.


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