Conor Sheary is headed back to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford completed his second major trade of the day on Monday when he signed forward Dominik Kahun to the Buffalo Sabres for Sheary and Evan Rodrigues.
Sheary began his career with the Penguins and won two Stanley Cups with the team during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons before being traded in a salary cap move prior to the 2018-19 season. The Penguins emphasized at the time it was not a performance related decision and that they did not want to lose him.
Now they have him back, along with Rodrigues.
The name of the game here for the Penguins is clearly adding depth to the bottom of their lineup. They have been dealing with injuries all season, and were icing a fourth-line in recent weeks that was made up almost entirely of AHL call-ups.
Adding Sheary, Rodrigues and Patrick Marleau in an earlier trade from San Jose certainly helps address that.
What is interesting about this move is that they were willing to give up Kahun.
They acquired him from the Chicago Blackhawks over the summer for Olli Maatta, and after a slow start had really been making an impact as a two-way winger. He is still only 24 years old (making him the youngest player in the trade) and is a restricted free agent after this season. The latter point might have been part of what made him expendable in the eyes of the Penguins. They are always dealing with a salary cap crunch and already have several players that will be in need of raises after this season as RFA’s, including both of their current goalies (Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry) and forward Jared McCann. Marcus Pettersson‘s new contract will also begin next season.
Sheary is an unrestricted free agent after this season. Rodrigues is a restricted free agent.
As for Buffalo, this is a pretty strong pickup for a team that needs as much talent as it can get. Kahun isn’t going to be a star, but he should be a really good second-or third-line player and an upgrade offensively.