Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Canucks & Pens Deal Pivots

2015 2016
To Vancouver POS Age G/W P Cap
Brandon Sutter F 26 21 33 $3.3 mil
2016 3rd Round Draft Pick
To Pittsburgh POS Age G/W P Cap
Nick Bonino F 27 15 39 $1.9 mil
Adam Clendening D 22 1 4 $760k
2016 2nd Round Draft Pick

The Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins confirmed a bit of a shuffle in their respective lineups with a deal on Tuesday morning, as the Penguins sent forward Brandon Sutter and a pick to the West Coast, while the Canucks sent forward Nick Bonino, defenseman Adam Clendening and a higher pick back the other way.

Sutter, the biggest earner of the deal, becomes the centerpiece, as the Canucks look to define the roles down the middle a little more in this off-season, as the middle was a little cloudy after Henrik Sedin on the depth chart.  Sutter, more of a two-way centre with a penchance for his own zone, is better suited for the 3rd line, leaving Bo Horvat and Linden Vey to challenge each other for the 2nd line spot.  Make no mistake, Sutter will also likely get a chance at the number two slot, but you have to think he's penciled in for number three.

The Penguins add another offensive centre to the mix in Bonino, who will sit behind both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and will move up when either one gets injured, which seems likely, since they're both on the Injury Prone List.  Bonino gives the Penguins a little bit more playmaking down the middle, which will be helpful, given the amount of scoring wingers they have on the side.  Each centre could have their own sniper, providing a very balanced lineup of power.

Clendening, a depth defenseman with some upside, will likely be a minors add, since the Penguins are deep at the position, currently, while the picks give you an idea of the value of each player, sought by their previous teams.

Obviously, this is a straight-up hockey deal, which does more to align each team's vision of what they want their rosters to look like, more than an overall improvement on what each player is going to do with their new team.

Sutter is going to a team with far less weapons for offense on it, but goes to a team where the system for playing defense is more important, so his fit may see him with some overall losses in his projections.

Bonino, on the other hand, goes to a team with weapons, but he won't exactly get the pick of the litter when he steps on the ice.  Depending on how the coach sees the lines going forward, there could be some mixing and matching, looking for that fit, for however long they're hot for.  Phil Kessel, Patric Hornqvist, David Perron and Chris Kunitz may play musical centres this year, but someone is going to get some upside somewhere.

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