Penguins Acquire Ron Hainsey

Thursday morning started off with a nice little depth trade to prime Penguins fans for the trade deadline. The Penguins gave up a second round pick and an insignificant AHL contract in Danny Kristo in exchange for 35 year old veteran blueliner Ron Hainsey. Carolina also retains 50% of Hainsey’s salary.

There’s nothing here to be outraged about and there’s definitely no reason to rush to NHL.com to order your custom Ron Hainsey jersey. This is purely a depth move in response to the news that Trevor Daley will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery.

The Penguins paid about the going rate for a depth defenseman since their second round pick is essentially a third round pick. All things considered, this is a pretty low risk deal that addresses a need and leaves the room for the Penguins to turn their focus to a bigger deal if they want to swing one.

Ron Hainsey is one of those players that it is usually better if you don’t notice him. He’s not going to blow you away with offensive skill by any means. In 891 NHL games, Hainsey has only registered 250 points. However, he’s a longtime veteran whose steady in his own end and can comfortably eat up around 20 minutes per night. Think of Hainsey as this year’s Ben Lovejoy.

One huge positive from this deal is that Hainsey is going to be hungry to play for a Stanley Cup contender. He’s never played in an NHL playoff game and he will definitely be getting his first chance to do so this spring. He has mostly played for abysmal teams his entire career without any taste of real success and he’s definitely aware that this is his best chance to win a Stanley Cup. Hainsey is a team player who will do whatever it takes to win and will surely want to make the most of his short time in Pittsburgh, especially as a pending UFA.

As I mentioned earlier, Hainsey is not going to be someone you notice on the ice unless he’s making a mistake. However, he is a very steady defender who can effectively suppress shots and take care of himself in his own end. With the Penguins elite group of forwards, they can use their superior possession to keep the puck in the offensive zone and shield¬†Hainsey from having to work too hard on the third pairing.

Chart courtesy of Micah Blake McCurdy at HockeyViz.com

Hainsey is also a minutes eating machine. He played about 22 minutes a night in Carolina, which he won’t have to do on a team as good as the Penguins. He’s also a gifted penalty killer who was an integral part of the league’s top PK unit in Carolina. The Penguins PK has struggled mightily this year as they’re ranked 21st out of 30 teams. Hainsey has a lot to bring to the table in that regard, especially when every kill is critical in the playoffs.

All things considered, I think this will be a good trade for the Penguins in the long run. With Trevor Daley and Olli Maatta out for an extended period of time, Schultz recovering and an injury seemingly taking place every game, there’s not a lot to get upset about with this trade. The Penguins got some much needed stability on the blueline and the Hurricanes got a pick to aid their rebuild. It’s one of those trades that works good for both sides. Giving up a second round pick and ensuring defensive stability for the playoffs is much better than getting there, suffering one too many injuries and being forced to play an AHLer in an uncomfortable situation.

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