After being acquired via trade by the Penguins, Trevor Daley made an immediate impression. In his first game in the black and gold at CONSOL Energy Center, a 6-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Dec. 18, Daley found the back of the net with a powerful slap shot to score his first of the season and first as a Penguin.
The goal started a three-game point streak for Daley, tallying a power-play assist in each of his next two games. He tallied six assists and no goals total in 29 games with Chicago before the trade to Pittsburgh.
The key to his immediate success in Pittsburgh?
“When you have more opportunities to do stuff, the results may be a little bit better,” Daley said. “If you want to have results you have to play.”
Before arriving in Pittsburgh, Daley only reached 20 minutes of ice time in three of his 29 games with the Blackhawks. He’s played 20-plus minutes in four of his first six games as a Penguin.
“You have to earn those minutes,” Daley said. “You have to gain their trust. It’s a good feeling. But when it results in wins it will be more special.”
Despite his offensive success and seemingly perfect fit with head coach Mike Sullivan’s system, the wins are all the 32-year-old defenseman is focused on.
“My main focus is to help the team win,” Daley said. “When it results in wins, your fit becomes a little better.”
The Toronto native’s instant success is of no surprise to fellow defenseman Ian Cole, who found himself in a similar situation after being acquired from the St. Louis Blues at the trade deadline last spring.
“Sometimes it doesn’t work out with a particular coach, management, team or system for whatever reason,” Cole said. “There are a plethora or reasons as to why it might not work out or why it might not be the best fit.
“But then sometimes you come to a new team and it’s just automatic from day one. You just play great. The team plays great. They play better because you’re there and you get a ton of ice time and situation minutes. It’s huge.”
Daley’s style of play was certainly huge when fellow defenseman Kris Letang missed six games due to an upper-body injury. Daley not only filled in for Letang’s lost minutes, but took his position at the center point on the Pens’ top power-play unit.
Olli Maatta, in fact, even compared the two blueliners.
“They play the same way,” Maatta said. “They want to be on the offense. But at the same time, they’re really solid defensively. They don’t take any unnecessary risks on the ice.”
While the 12-year NHL veteran is enjoying success on the ice, playing in a system that is nearly tailor-made for him, Daley is beginning to enjoy his new atmosphere as well.
“It’s been great,” Daley said. “I haven’t really had much time to see the city or get around, but the Penguins have been great. The fans were awesome the first few games that I played here.”