The Penguins traded reserve defenseman Ben Lovejoy to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2014 tonight. Additionally, they recalled defenseman Dylan Reese from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL.
Lovejoy, 28, appeared three games this season and was minus-3. Last season, Lovejoy played in 34 games and recorded five points (one goal, four assists) while recording a plus-3. He has a salary cap hit of $525,000 at the NHL level on a contract scheduled to expire this offseason.
A free agent signing in 2007, Lovejoy spent parts of three seasons with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins before breaking in as a full-time NHLer in 2010-11. Spending parts of five seasons at the NHL level with the Penguins, his career in Pittsburgh saw him appear in 98 regular season games and score 25 points. In nine postseason games with the Penguins, he recorded two assists.
Lovejoy joins a Ducks team playing without defenseman Cam Fowler who suffered an "upper-body" injury after behind hit from behind by Kings forward Jarret Stoll Saturday.
Reese, 28, has appeared in 39 games this season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scfranton Penguins and has scored 15 points (three goals, 12 assists).
A native of Upper St. Clair, Reese (5-foot-11, 202 pounds), was a free agent signing this past offseason. In 28 games with the Islanders last season, Reese (right) scored seven points (one goal, six assists). He is signed to a two-way contract set to expire this offseason with a salary cap hit of $600,000 at the NHL level.
EN Says: There's multiple layers to this trade. First, it appears to be a favor to Lovejoy who has been a good citizen in this organization for many seasons. He wasn't going to get playing time at the NHL level unless massive injuries set in. Coupled with the fact that the Penguins can't assign him to the AHL without exposing him to waivers, they dealt him to a team with less depth, especially given Fowler's ailment, in order to give him a better chance.
On top of that too, instead of losing him through waivers for nothing, they get an asset back. Much like the trade of Mark Letestu to Columbus last season, the Penguins turned an undrafted player into a fifth-round pick. Not a bad return.
The biggest question mark to this deal is what it means to the Penguins' organizational depth on defense. With Reese waiting in the wings at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, this gives him a chance to do return to the NHL. In talking about his decision to join the Penguins this past summer, Reese told the Post-Gazette, "I think the player I’ve evolved into over the last five years really suits their system. "
Additionally, Mark Eaton, a member of the 2009 Stanley Cup championship team, is working in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on a professional tryout contract, it certainly increases the chances for the team to potentially promote another body from the AHL.
(Photos: LovejeoyChristian Petersen/Getty Images; Reese-Bruce Bennett-Getty Images)