The Penguins boast a collection of skaters on their team that could hold their own in any dead sprint on the ice. Carl Hagelin might be the fastest skater the Penguins have, and it’s a wonderful asset, but with his lack of production, you may begin to wonder if he could be used as a valuable trade piece to bring in more production.
Hagelin was originally brought to Pittsburgh by Jim Rutherford in the 2015-2016 season to upgrade the bottom-six’s overall production, and Hagelin later became a member of the infamous “HBK” line with Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel. No doubt, the line was a huge part in the 2016 Stanley Cup run, but the magic didn’t carry on to the following season.
Since that time, head coach Mike Sullivan has moved Hagelin up and down the lineup playing on just about every line. Granted, that shows his versatility and how his skill set can translate between a scoring line or checking line. What is alarming about Hagelin is the lack of production on the scoresheet on a team that is built to rely on all four lines to produce.
Now, Sidney Crosby has gone through a scoring drought himself this season, but no one sane would think about trading arguably the best player in the world. Given his track record, you would rely on Crosby to eventually figure it out. With Hagelin, the track record isn’t there, and with there being no one he has any great chemistry with, you begin to wonder if Hagelin hurts the team more than he helps it.
When Hagelin was traded to Pittsburgh in 2015-2016, he registered 10 goals and 17 assists in 37 games with the Penguins. In 61 games in 2016-2017, he only put up six goals and 16 assists. This season has been significantly worse, tallying only one goal and two assists in 21 games.
To really put things into perspective, Hagelin is making $4 million per season, and is under contract through the 2018-2019 season. Hagelin is a fine player to have on your team and can be a great asset as his speed is nearly second to none and he can kill penalties, but for $4 million on a team that needs production, the offensive stats just aren’t there.
In no way am I stating that he should be run out of town, but if I’m Jim Rutherford and the right deal comes along and Hagelin’s got to go, I’m not hesitating at pulling the trigger.