Pens general manager Jim Rutherford took the onus on his team’s lack of offensive production through the first quarter of the season, blaming himself for not having enough defensemen that can move the puck.
Now he’s taken a step toward correcting that.
Pittsburgh acquired puck-moving defenseman Trevor Daley from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Rob Scuderi.
“We’ve talked about Trevor Daley for a month or so but never to the point where we could make it a good fit,” Rutherford said. “We like Trevor because he can skate, he can move the puck. It’s something that we’ve talked about trying to improve that, improve our back end where we have more puck movers. He can certainly do that.”
Daily, 32, is a 12-year NHL veteran that has speed and can quarterback the power play. Daley has a strong breakout pass and is very mobile. He likes to join the rush.
“Over the years my game has been getting in the play, moving the puck, having good gaps and defending,” said the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Daley. “I’m not the biggest guy so I won’t push guys over. I get into areas quickly and try to be a good team guy. I’ll whatever I’m asked to do.”
Daley, whose defensive partner will be determined by the coaching staff, posted 16 goals last season while with the Dallas Stars, including six with the man-advantage. But he wasn’t playing in a big role in Chicago this year and wanted a change.
“I did ask them if they weren’t going to use me to move me. They were great about it,” Daley said late Monday night. “I have nothing bad to say about my time in Chicago. I met a lot of good people. It’s a great franchise. I wish I could say I hated it and wanted to leave, but I can’t. It’s hard, but I have more to give than they allowed me to do.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to play in Pittsburgh. I’m excited to be a fresh face and help out wherever I can and be a part of a good organization that’s had a lot of success over the years.”
The Pens will retain a third of Scuderi’s salary, meaning they are closer to the cap following the deal. But Rutherford felt that the move was worth it to upgrade the defensive corps.
Rutherford said the Pens do not have any other immediate deals in place.
“I’d like to give Mike (Sullivan) a little time with this group. See how it settles in,” Rutherford said. “Then we’ll take a look at it. One of the things about making the move with the coaching change, making it when we did, it gives us enough time to make other adjustments if necessary. I don’t think we need to. I think our team is pretty good. But we have to get a few breaks around the net and score some goals.”
The Pens players found out about the trade following their 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals at CONSOL Energy Center.
“Really good skater. He can lug the puck, carry it up and down the ice pretty easily,” captain Sidney Crosby said. “If you’re playing against him you know his skating ability is probably his biggest strength.”
Daley has appeared in 785 career NHL games with Chicago and Dallas, where he played his first 11 seasons. He’s totaled 67 goals, 170 assists and 237 points and 517 penalty minutes.
To read the original media release for the trade, click here