By Thomas Harrington
One year ago today, the Anaheim Ducks traded Carl Hagelin to the Pittsburgh Penguins for David Perron and Adam Clendening. A year later, this is a deal that Anaheim can be moderately happy with and Pittsburgh is ecstatic with, as Hagelin helped the Penguins win the Stanley Cup this past June.
The Ducks had acquired Hagelin at the 2015 NHL Draft from the New York Rangers, in a deal that involved Emerson Etem and draft picks from both teams. Hagelin was a restricted free agent at the time of the trade, and the Ducks signed him to a four-year extension. Hagelin was acquired to bring more speed to Anaheim’s lineup and fit in on the team’s second or third line. I was hoping that he would be the player I had imagined Etem would become. He bounced around the lineup but seemed to play his best hockey on a line with Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg. Halfway through the season, it was clear that he just wasn’t fitting in. Offensively, he was invisible through most of his time in Anaheim, picking up two points in October, five points in November (three of those in one game), and only one point in December. Overall in Anaheim, he scored four goals and 12 points in 43 games.
The Penguins had acquired Perron the previous January from the Edmonton Oilers. Similar to Hagelin with the Ducks, Perron never really fit in with Pittsburgh. He had a hot start to his time in Pittsburgh, scoring five times in his first six games, and finished the season with 12 goals and 22 points in 43 games with the Penguins. The next year, he played in 43 games for Pittsburgh again, but only scored four goals and 16 points.
Pittsburgh acquired Clendening, along with Nick Bonino, from the Vancouver Canucks in a move that saw Brandon Sutter go the other way. The Penguins used him sparingly before the trade with Anaheim, as he only appeared in nine games and had one assist that season.
Both Anaheim and Pittsburgh had a bit of a slow start to the 2015-16 season, but both teams started playing better in the second half of the season, and this trade was one of the major catalysts for that.
Perron found himself on a line next to Ryan Getzlaf and the two seemed to have instant chemistry. In only 28 games with Anaheim, he scored eight goals and 20 points, eclipsing the marks he had set in Pittsburgh in the first half of the season in significantly fewer games. However, he did have an injury late in the season and didn’t seem 100% in the playoffs. He played in all seven games in the series against Nashville and scored one goal and three points. He was a free agent in the summer, and he chose to return the St. Louis Blues in July, the team he started his NHL career with. While the Ducks would have liked to bring him back, it was clear that he wanted to go back to the Blues and the Ducks would not be able to re-sign him.
Clendening was part of the deal to give Anaheim more defensive depth. He didn’t appear in any games with the Ducks and two weeks after the trade, he was on waivers and the Edmonton Oilers claimed him.
Hagelin joined the Penguins and similar to Perron, quickly found chemistry with Bonino and Phil Kessel, as the three formed the HBK line. In 37 games with Pittsburgh, Hagelin scored 10 goals and 27 points. Even more impressive, after being a -10 with the Ducks, Hagelin had a +18 rating with the Penguins. In the playoffs, Hagelin played in 24 games and scored six goals and 16 points, clearly a major part of Pittsburgh’s victory. This season, Hagelin has had a bit of a slow start, scoring only five goals and 17 points in 42 games.
Perron was a major part of Anaheim’s second half turnaround last season, but his decision to leave as a free agent and the first round loss to Nashville keep this deal from being a win for Anaheim. On the other hand, this deal was about as big a win for Pittsburgh as you could make it. Both teams can be happy that they turned a struggling forward into a valuable forward down the stretch, but the Penguins’ Stanley Cup victory make them the clear winners in this deal. The Ducks also got one more important factor in the deal, cap space. With Hagelin’s new four year deal of the books, it did give the team more room to re-sign their major restricted free agents.
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January 16, 2017