There are very few complaints made about the moves Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has made throughout his tenure in the organization.
How could anyone, really? He's delivered back-to-back Stanley Cup winning teams, and with the way the team is playing, they aren't far off from contending for a third straight. Unheard of in the salary cap era.
But one move he's made sticks out like a sore thumb, and it's caused some controversy, to say the least.
Of course, we are talking about Ryan Reaves. The Penguins moved down in the draft to acquire him, and ended up losing the chance to draft a very promising Russian centreman in Klim Kostin. He was drafted by the St. Louis Blues, the team the Penguins dealt picks with. Kostin was arguably the best player on the World Juniors Russian squad.
Instead, the Penguins get a bruiser in Reaves who plays around five minutes a night, give or take, and is clearly not even close to a favorite of Mike Sullivan's.
While he is well-liked in the locker room, and has some fans out there, most people just find his place on the team confusing. His contract expires at the conclusion of this season, and according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "there's little to no chance he re-signs (in Pittsburgh)."
Alternatively, Mackey believes his time in Pittsburgh could end before his contract does.
"If someone made a competitive offer now, I think the Penguins would entertain it. I don't see the rough stuff changing whether he's there or not."
Reaves has brought a certain energy to the team, igniting people's excitement as he wins fight after fight, but that really just isn't today's NHL. And if he's playing 5 minutes or so, teams have 55 minutes to take runs at the top players, with whom Reaves never even plays with. Sure, he can come on the ice later and seek out his revenge, but generally, you want these types of players to be on the ice with the stars. It makes it less likely that an opposing player will take any kind of cheap shot, in fear of the retaliation a player like Reaves can dish out.
We don't know that a team would necessarily seek out Reaves at the trade deadline, but it would certainly shock us if Rutherford decided to extend a new contract offer to him following this season.
What's your opinion on Reaves' inclusion on the team's roster, and what do you think Rutherford should do with him?