By making this trade, the Penguins bring a top-six forward into the mix, as presumed top-six forwards Jason Zucker (injured) and Kasperi Kapanen (28 points in 61 games) have been largely ineffective this season.
In 51 games with the Ducks, Rakell has recorded 16 goals and 12 assists for 28 points in 51 games. Over the course of his career, the former first-round pick has compiled 154 goals and 185 assists (339 points) in 550 games.
His numbers have the potential to look more like they did in the 2017-2018 season when he tallied a career-best 69 points in 77 games now that he is on a roster that is an undisputed playoff team. Anaheim boasted talent in its lineup, but nothing that compares to that of Sidney Crosby and company.
Rickard Rakell fills a need for the Penguins.
The key to this acquisition for Pittsburgh is that Rakell gives the team another scoring option. Only four Penguins have more goals this season than he does, and his point total is tied for seventh among players on his new squad.
In addition, his five power play markers can add another layer to the Pens’ attack with the man-advantage, which has already been one of the NHL’s best in the second half of the season.
Beyond just what Rakell brings to the ‘Burgh, this move works, because it did not cost Pittsburgh significant chunks of its current roster. Yes, four assets go the other way, but only two NHL players were involved, leaving Pittsburgh’s already-strong roster mostly intact.
Losing Aston-Reese isn’t ideal, but it’s by no means detrimental. Meanwhile, Simon is a player that I personally would have preferred to see on the list of healthy scratches in favor of younger players that have seen the lineup sparingly.
There were rumors surrounding the Penguins that some potential trades, that ultimately did not materialize, would have required an established defenseman to be a part of the deal. To be able to make this trade and not surrender that type of player is a win for Pittsburgh.
The Penguins did not go overboard at the deadline, but instead, focused on their biggest need and brought in a player that can address it. Let the quest for the Cup begin.