LOTS of hot takes already on this one. The early consensus is the Penguins overpaid to acquire a 4th line “enforcer” (I use the term in quotations because Reaves is not your prototypical enforcer from a decade ago). And I get it. Oskar Sunqvist is a 23-year old prospect with a decent amount of upside. In fact, many believed he would be the one to fill the role of 4th line center once Matt Cullen inevitably retires.
But here’s where I also see the other side of this argument. First off, dropping 20 picks in a weak draft class is irrelevant. People freaking over getting “stiffed” on draft picks should be tased. Second off, if Oskar Sunqvist was as highly coveted within the Penguins organization as many people thought, then why the hell didn’t he crack the lineup when Nick Bonino went down in the Stanley Cup Final? To me, it speaks volumes that the coaching staff and management elected to go with Carter Rowney to fill that void, instead. And guess what? It worked out pretty well.
If anything, acquiring Reaves is a giant fuck you to the face of those that run the NHL. If Gary Bettman has the audacity to downplay the abuse Sidney Crosby received this past postseason, then teams like the Penguins have to take it upon themselves to protect their star players.
Only time will tell if this move works out in the Penguins favor. But as of now, this should be a clear sign to the rest of the league that there’s a real problem that continues to be overlooked.
P.S. – Ryan Reaves looks TOUGH AF.