On Monday morning, the first post-Olympics, pre-NHL Trade Deadline deal came across the wires early. It wasn't a blockbuster, but could come with a trickle-down effect felt all over the NHL.
The Pittsburgh Penguins traded their 2010 second round draft choice to the Florida Panthers for 29-year-old defenseman Jordan Leopold.
Leopold has 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 61 games this year in Florida, and had been averaging 22:29 on ice for the Panthers. He is in the final year of his contract as well. However, with him headed to Pittsburgh his role will certainly change. The Penguins have a crowded blue line already, so bringing in Leopold will likely force someone out of Pittsburgh.
For the Penguins, 35-year-old Sergei Gonchar is currently leading the team in ice time at 24:57 per game. Fellow defensemen Alex Goligoski (21:45), Kris Letang (21:22) and USA Olympian Brooks Orpik (20:12) are all averaging over 20 minutes per game for Pittsburgh. Adding Leopold will likely eat up some of the heavy minutes the top four had been playing in Pittsburgh, but could cloud the futures of some of the other defensemen on the roster.
Jay McKee and Martin Skoula could be the two names that become popular in trade rumors.
Overall, this trade comes with minimal fantasy value added to Leopold but might take a little away from Gologoski and Letang. Orpik is really a niche player, who's on most rosters to add hits and will continue to provide that.