The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired forward Rickard Rakell (at 35% retention) from the Anaheim Ducks, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. In return, Anaheim receives forwards Zach Aston-Reese and Dominik Simon, along with goalie prospect Calle Clang and a 2022 second-round pick.
Rakell is a 28-year-old winger who’s a strong passer and offensive play-driver. He’s having a very nice rebound season analytically after his 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, where he really struggled to put the puck in the net.
He has 16 goals and 12 assists this year for 28 points in 51 games, and his 11.8 shooting percentage is much closer to his career average of 11.3%. In his past two seasons, where he scored just 15 and 9 goals, he shot a combined 7.3%. His new cap hit in Pittsburgh with retention is now just $2.463M, and he’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
While this is a good add for Pittsburgh, Anaheim and general manager Pat Verbeek got a good return for Rakell, adding to what’s been a great deadline season for them. If they can re-sign Aston-Reese, he’d be a fantastic addition to the organization. The 27-year-old undrafted free agent carved out a great start to his NHL career in Pittsburgh, developing into an elite defensive winger. He’s got 62 points so far through 213 NHL games.
Simon is on a league-minimum deal and is also an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. He has just nine points in 55 games with the season, and this could potentially be the end of his career in North America.