Pens’ GM on Jason Zucker: ‘We like speed, two-way play, shot’

Pens’ GM on Jason Zucker: ‘We like speed, two-way play, shot’
(Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Jim Rutherford had a deal in place to acquire winger Jason Zucker from Minnesota last summer, but Phil Kessel, who would have gone to the Wild in that trade, exercised his right to veto it.

Rutherford persisted, though, and it paid off Monday night when he landed Zucker in exchange for winger Alex Galchenyuk, a conditional first-round choice in the 2020 NHL Draft and defense prospect Calen Addison. The condition on the draft choice is that the Penguins have the option to give Minnesota their No. 1 pick in 2021 instead of 2020 if they fail to qualify for the playoffs this season.

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Zucker, 28, is 5-foot-11, 192 pounds and has 14 goals and 15 assists in 45 games with the Wild this season.

He is a good skater who plays a high-energy game and is responsible defensively, which should make him a good fit for Mike Sullivan's system.

"We like his speed, his two-way play, his shot," Rutherford said. "We like his all-around play."

Penguins enjoying snow at the Pittsburgh Zoo