A popular name in the trade rumor mill is Jason Zucker out of Minnesota. In fact, Zucker has been at the center of a few different trades that almost happened last season, first to Calgary and then to Pittsburgh. He ultimately stayed in the last scenario because Phil Kessel wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause to join the Wild but it hasn’t removed Zucker’s name from trade talks.
Recently, Michael Russo of The Athletic (subscription required) reported that there is continued interest by the Pittsburgh Penguins in Zucker and that if they can figure out some cap space issues, would like to make play for him.
Zucker is locked in long-term, so he’s certainly not a rental. Russo writes:
If they can figure out a way to make Zucker’s $5.5 million AAV work for the next three-plus seasons, all bets are off because the Penguins are looking for a winger to resume the role of Jake Guentzel, who’s expected to miss the remainder of the season.source – ‘What will Bill Guerin do? A look at the Wild trade landscape as they hit the bye’ – Michael Russo – The Athletic – 01/22/2020
From Friedman’s report, the Penguins have dug deep into Zucker’s background, how he fits in the with community and his teammates and how he’s perceived as a leader on and off the ice.
Definitely Not a Slam Dunk
Russo believes Zucker’s 10-team no-trade clause could come into play if the Wild decide to move him and that Zucker may make it know his preference would be heading to the Vegas Golden Knights. That too would be tricky because the Knights are hardly a team with tons of cap space to fit Zucker in without question. In fact, they have less space than the Penguins do.
There’s also the fact that Minnesota may not be a seller, at least not yet. It may take a little time before GM Bill Guerin knows which way he wants to steer his team, even if things look bleak at this moment in time.
A couple of weeks from now, everything could change. The only thing that won’t appears to be Zucker’s name in the rumor mill. Trade deadline or not, he may be someone insiders speculate will get moved at some point.
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