The Pittsburgh Penguins have moved winger Sergei Plotnikov to the Arizona Coyotes, reports ESPN’s Craig Custance.
Plotnikov has struggled since coming to the NHL from the KHL this season. He’s posted excellent underlying numbers, but has been unable to turn that into offensive production, scoring just two assists this season.
He’s been in coach Mike Sullivan’s doghouse. Plotnikov reportedly said he’s considering returning to Russia and that didn’t sit well with Sullivan, who has made him a healthy scratch in every game since Jan. 6.
That report comes from a reliable source: Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford. “[Plotnikov] started off a little bit feeling his way [through], and then I thought he had a pretty good run for about five weeks, but there came a point in time [when] he suggested he wanted to go back to Russia,” he said on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan.
“That didn’t go over too well with the coach, because he wants people here [who] are all-in [and] want to be here at all costs, and that hurt him a little bit with the coach.”
The return for Pittsburgh is a conditional draft pick and a minor league player, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
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The minor league skater is Matthias Plachta and the conditional pick is a 7th rounder in 2017, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari. The condition on the pick is that the Coyotes re-sign Plotnikov, according to Craig Morgan.
The trade has been made official.
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Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.