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Scouting Jason Zucker: A flawless fit for Penguins Puck Pursuit game?

Scouting Jason Zucker: A flawless fit for Penguins Puck Pursuit game?”

The Penguins have suffered the most man-games lost in the National Hockey League this season and have now secured a top-six forward for the near future.

The Jason Zucker trade rumors became a reality on Monday night when the Wild dealt the left winger to the Pittsburgh Penguins for center Alex Galchenyuk, a conditional 2020 first-round draft pick and prospect Calen Addison.

Despite the risk of taking on a $5.5 million cap hit for another three seasons, and it's a big risk, what has drawn Zucker to the Penguins is how he can impact a game away from the puck if he's not producing offensively.

Being your own harshest critic goes a long way in a room run by captain Sidney Crosby, who is harder on himself than any all-time great probably should be. The 2020 first-round pick could be moved to 2021 if the Penguins fail to make the postseason this year.

Zucker's game winning goals this year came in a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on November 21 and in a 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on January 22. After posting a career-high 33 goals and playing in all 82 games in 2017-18, Zucker's production waned last season with the rest of the Wild as they saw their streak of six straight playoff appearances end.

Rutherford told The Athletic that the draft pick in the deal is protected in case the Penguins miss the playoffs this season. The Penguins are now in second place in the Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference.

The Wild, on the other hand, are four points out of the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference and nine points out of third place in the Central Division.

Galchenyuk, 25, has five goals and 12 assists in 45 games this season, his first with the Penguins.

The only current National Hockey League player heading to the Wild in this trade is Alex Galchenyuk.

Still, Galchenyuk has recorded at least 17 goals and 41 points in each of the last five seasons, finishing with 19 goals in each of the last two, 20-goals in the 2014-15 season and over 50 points twice in that time.



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