Jason Zucker was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins by the Minnesota Wild on Monday for forward Alex Galchenyuk, defenseman prospect Calen Addison and a first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft or 2021 NHL Draft.
Zucker, a 28-year-old forward, has 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists) in 45 games this season. He has 243 points (132, 111 assists) in 456 NHL games, all with the Wild after they selected him in the second round (No. 59) of the 2010 NHL Draft.
"He's a top-six guy that skates really well," Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford said. "Should fit into our style. He has a good shot and can move the puck good. Really a good all-around player. So not only is he a good fit for us now, especially with (forward) Jake Guentzel out, but we have him for three more years after this. Gives us a good 1-2 punch on that left side."
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Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Zucker should be available when Pittsburgh hosts the Tampa Bay Lightning at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, ATTSN-PT, SUN, NHL.TV), and that he likely would play on a line with center Sidney Crosby. Pittsburgh (34-15-5) is four points behind the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Zucker is signed through the 2022-23 season. He agreed to a five-year, $27.5 million contract ($5.5 million average annual value) with Minnesota on July 25, 2018.
"We're thrilled to have Jason," Sullivan said. "We really think he's going to make us a better team. We think that he's a guy that has attributes that will fit into the style of play that we're trying to play. We believe he's a top-six forward. We really like his speed, his overall two-way game, his ability to shoot the puck. So he's another one of those guys that we think we can use in a top-six capacity to make us a better hockey team. We're excited to add him to our group.
"He's going to make us a stronger team. ... We'll start him with Crosby and we'll take each game as it comes, and we'll see where it goes."
Galchenyuk was in his first season with the Penguins after he was acquired in a trade from the Arizona Coyotes on June 29, 2019. The 25-year-old forward has five goals and 12 assists in 45 games this season and 313 points (132 goals, 181 assists) in 535 NHL games with the Penguins, Coyotes and Montreal Canadiens.
Wild general manager Bill Guerin said he expects Galchenyuk to play when Minnesota hosts the Vegas Golden Knights at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV). The Wild (26-23-6) are five points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference.
"I know for a fact he's in great shape, he works extremely hard," Guerin said of Galchenyuk. "... he's trying to do all the little things to get back to where he was before. When you look at it, he's a third overall pick (2012 NHL Draft), he's had success in this league and sometimes you need to make a few stops along the way before you're going to find success and maybe it's here.
"I spoke to him last night. He's very excited about the opportunity. He just wants to come in and play and prove himself. He's one of these young kids that came into the League and instantly had a major impact. The last year and a half maybe hasn't gone the way he's wanted it to, but that's our job to help build him back up and resurrect his career and find his scoring touch again. We'll help him out as much as we can and we believe in him and hopefully it works out."
Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said Galchenyuk is expected to take Zucker's place on a line with forwards Luke Kunin and Mats Zuccarello.
Galchenyuk can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. He is in the final season of a three-year contract he agreed to with the Canadiens on July 5, 2017; financial terms were not disclosed.
Video: Breaking down the Zucker trade
Addison was a second-round pick (No. 53) by the Penguins in the 2018 NHL Draft. The 19-year-old has 43 points (10 goals, 33 assists) in 39 games this season with Lethbridge of the Western Hockey League.
Minnesota will receive Pittsburgh's own first-round pick in the 2020 draft if the Penguins make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. If Pittsburgh does not qualify for the postseason, it will have the option to instead give Minnesota its first-round pick in 2021. The option will expire at 5 p.m. ET on June 1.
"It's not easy to give up a first-round pick or a young player that we like, but in this case, it wasn't a rental," Rutherford said. "Jason Zucker is in his prime now. Our window of opportunity is this year and a couple more, for the next two or three years. When you look at giving up younger assets, they're probably not going to be ready until we're outside of that window. As always, we try to win each year. That's what we're trying to do."
NHL.com independent correspondents Wes Crosby and Jessi Pierce contributed to this report