Wild Trade LW Jason Zucker to Penguins for Alex Galchenyuk and More

Jason Zucker
Minnesota Wild LW Jason Zucker | Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Find someone who chases you like Jim Rutherford has gone after Jason Zucker in the past few months.

The Penguins tried to acquire the LW last offseason in Phil Kessel trade talks, but those fell through and Pittsburgh dealt the latter to Arizona. Now, as the Pens buckle up for perhaps one last Stanley Cup playoff run. Rutherford opted to deal future assets for the 28-year-old.

This is now Alex Galchenyuk's third team in the past year, as Pittsburgh acquired him from Florida at last year's trade deadline. Zucker offers a significant upgrade at the LW position, and provides a defensive focus with the ability to score in open ice.

Adding in prospect Calen Addison and a first rounder speaks to the Penguins' timetable, and Rutherford's sense of urgency with a veteran team. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin aren't getting any younger. Hell, neither is Kris Letang.

It's an easy move to critique from the Penguins' perspective, but as far as Rutherford is concerned, their Stanley Cup potential fades once Crosby retires anyway. Making sure he has the proper tools to work with before the eventual descent that comes with age is smart, even if it sacrifices the future of the franchise.