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Trade Coverage

Ron Hainsey traded to Penguins by Hurricanes

35-year-old will help bolster Pittsburgh's injury-plagued defense

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

CRANBERRY, Pa. -- The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired defenseman Ron Hainsey from the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday in a trade for a second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft and minor league forward Danny Kristo.

Hainsey's addition coincides with news that Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang is day to day with an upper-body injury and defenseman Trevor Daley will miss six weeks after knee surgery. Defensemen Justin Schultz (concussion), who practiced in a regular contact jersey Thursday, and Olli Maatta (hand) are also injured.

Coach Mike Sullivan said the injuries and the arrival of Hainsey won't complicate things too much.

"It's a little bit of a challenge, but I don't think it's anything that's overwhelming for our team," he said. "I think we have a good veteran group. I think our guys have a real understanding of how we're trying to play. I think there's a real clear vision in here on how we want to play down to the details.

"When we add new players into the group, these guys will help them along the way. I don't think it's anything where we're not capable of meeting that challenge."

Video: CAR@NYI: Hainsey rifles home second goal for OT win

Sullivan said he would decide where Hainsey would fit in the lineup after he arrives in Pittsburgh. Hainsey could make his debut with the Penguins in the 2017 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Heinz Field on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports 2, NHL.TV)

Hainsey, 35, has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 56 games with the Hurricanes this season. In 14 NHL seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, Columbus Blue Jackets, Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers and Hurricanes, he has 250 points (49 goals, 201 assists) and averaged 21:08 in 891 games.

"I've played against him for a long time," Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. "He's a pretty steady, stay-at-home defenseman. He's a good skater. … I think that's been his game."

General manager Jim Rutherford said the Penguins are considering a trade for another defenseman but are tight against the NHL salary cap and would have to get creative to make it happen.

"I'd say in the next 24 hours, we'll make that decision," Rutherford said of a possible trade. "You can look at that two ways. You add another NHL defenseman and then you're totally healthy and then you have a situation you have to deal with where you have one or two guys who aren't happy to be sitting in the stands.

"Then you look at it the other way where you never have enough and you're hurt all the time, so you may need one. We're thinking about that right now."

Rutherford said his past experience with Hainsey was a factor in the decision to bring him to Pittsburgh. Rutherford signed Hainsey while GM of the Hurricanes.

"He's a real character guy," Rutherford said. "He'll fit into our room well. We were looking to add an experienced defenseman. He has lots of experience. He probably doesn't have to play in the same situation here as he did in Carolina, and he's a good penalty killer. That's an area where we'd like to improve a little bit.

"He can skate, move the puck and should be able to fit into our system."

Video: CAR@NYI: Hainsey one-times Lindholm's feed in up high

Hainsey has never played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He could get his chance with the Penguins, who are second in the Metropolitan Division, five points behind the Washington Capitals and three points ahead of the Blue Jackets.

"We've got a lot of the regular season here to play yet, so nobody is going to get ahead of themselves," Sullivan said. "We'll take each game as it comes and we'll got from there, but I think he should feel excited to be part of a team that has high expectations of itself and coming into an exciting atmosphere. Pittsburgh is a great organization.

"We're fortunate that our ownership and our management treats us the way they do. They give us all the resources to try to win games and that's all you can ask."

Kristo, 26, has yet to play in the NHL. He had 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 32 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.

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