The Pittsburgh Penguins just won back to back Stanley Cups by rolling four skilled lines.
So, it only makes sense that they would move out of the first round to acquire an enforcer.
There’s no way to defend this trade.
It was a bad deal.
By all means, Ryan Reaves is an absolute badass.
He’s the best at punching guys in the face, and there’s no arguing that.
He’s a great human being off the ice and an incredible teammate.
I’ll root for him, just like I root for anyone who dawns a Penguins uniform.
But enforcers don’t protect your stars like people nonsensically believe.
The other team has guys like Brandon Dubinsky and Tom Wilson.
Their sole job is to harass star players.
They’re not going to think twice just because Ryan Reaves is on the team.
They love to have someone to engage and fight with.
Sure, Reaves is going to beat them to a pulp afterwards.
And don’t get me wrong, I will enjoy every second of Reaves ragdolling those scumbags.
But it’s not going to magically prevent Crosby and Malkin from taking punishment.
I understand that Jim Rutherford was pissed about the treatment of his stars.
If you follow me, you’d know I was pissed too.
But trading a prospect and a first round pick for the best enforcer in the game is not the solution.
The Penguins will continue to take punishment until NHL Player Safety does its job.
Let’s say you don’t believe me, and you still think enforcers are effective.
You’re entitled to that opinion, but you still can’t defend this trade.
Guys like Ryan Reaves are available for free, everywhere.
Tom Sestito is on the Penguins payroll. He can do everything Reaves does.
Let’s say you want a more high profile enforcer, Chris Neil is available in free agency.
There’s always tons of enforcer options available.
There’s never a reason to give up any assets to get one, whatsoever.
“The Penguins only dropped 20 spots in the draft and lost Sundqvist!”
Um, okay, but what if they just…didn’t do that.
The Blues took Klim Kostin with the 31st pick.
Kostin was the #1 ranked European skater in the entire draft.
Kostin was seen by some as a top 10 talent.
He fell, well, because GMs love to undervalue Russian players.
I would much rather take a gamble on a guy like Kim Kostin than get a sure-fire fourth-liner.
Kostin might never amount to anything.
But he also could become an absolute star.
You’ll see all of the old-school hockey fans defending this deal on Twitter.
“The Penguins need this type of toughness in the lineup”, they’ll tell you.
Just ask them why Tom Sestito didn’t play in the playoffs, if that was the case.
“Jim Rutherford just won two Stanley Cups, don’t question him.”
That’s called appealing to authority and that’s not a good strategy.
Jim Rutherford just won two Stanley Cups, because he didn’t do stuff like this.
It’s perfectly okay to criticize a bad move by your general manager.
It doesn’t make him a horrible GM, but there’s no need to defend everything he does.
Is this a franchise-altering move? No.
Will it have a tremendous negative impact on the Penguins? No.
Will Sullivan dress Reaves every night? Probably not.
Will Oskar Sundqvist ever be a good NHL player? Probably not.
Did the Penguins need to give up assets to get their enforcer of choice? Absolutely not.
I just hope this deal isn’t a sign of a change in the Penguins philosophy.
With this being the first move made since Botterill’s departure, it makes me wonder.