It’s been an unusually quiet trade deadline for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ex-GM Ray Shero loved to make the splashy trade on deadline day. New General Manager Jim Rutherford has been more measured in his approach, adding Daniel Winnik last week and David Perron earlier in the season.
Compared to the Jarome Iginla deal, the swap of Robert Bortuzzo for Ian Cole isn’t too exciting. It does signal a bit of a shift in direction for Pittsburgh’s blue line though.
Blues trade Ian Cole to Penguins for Robert Bortuzzo. Blues also get a 7th-rounder in 2016
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) March 2, 2015
Bortuzzo is a big body that plays the game with an edge. He was a favorite of former coach Dan Bylsma, but Penguins fans sometimes got down on the defenseman for his turnover rate and lack of offensive pop. New bench boss Michael Johnston put an emphasis on skating and attacking each zone with strength in numbers, and that was a system that Bortuzzo struggled to adapt to, limiting his uses with the team.
Bortuzzo never really found his place under HCMJ. The move isn't a destiny-changing move, but it's probably in the best interest of everyone
— Meesh (@HockeyMeesh) March 2, 2015
The Blues already added Zbynek Michalek today, and it’s likely that he’ll take a spot on one of the top two pairings. St. Louis’ defense has struggled mightily since Kevin Shattenkirk was inured on February 1. The All-Star defenseman is skating again, but isn’t expected back for another few weeks according to an Associated Press report.
That left the Blues and their Stanley Cup hopes up in the air. Michalek and Bortuzzo don’t replace Shattenkirk outright, but maybe Carl Gunnarsson can be removed from the top pairing in the wake of these trades.