The Pittsburgh Penguins are keeping with the movin’ and shakin’.
General manager Jim Rutherford pulled off his second major move of the offseason Friday night, trading centre Nick Bjugstad and his $4.1 million salary for next year to the Minnesota Wild for a conditional draft selection in 2021.
Pittsburgh will retain a portion of Bjugstad’s salary to facilitate the deal.
Bjugstad was originally acquired by the Penguins just before the trade deadline last season in a deal that sent Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan, and two draft picks the other way. He largely failed to deliver the desired impact in his time with the Penguins, scoring 10 goals and 16 points in only 45 games across parts of two seasons from a depth position in Mike Sullivan’s lineup.
This latest season ended with Bjugstad undergoing surgery on his ailing back, but the forward has since been deemed healthy.
Named Mr. Hockey as a standout high school star in Minnesota at the beginning of last decade, Bjugstad starred at the University of Minnesota for three seasons after being drafted in the first round, 19th overall, by the Panthers.
Pittsburgh remains intent on re-fashioning its roster around Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin after another disappointing postseason showing inside the bubble. The Penguins brought in Kasperi Kapanen from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for their first-round selection this offseason in the first major trade of what figures to be a feverish few months leading up to next season.
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