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.
Plotnikov is a $198,925 cap hit the rest of the season. This clears up almost $200K for #Penguins to work with today https://t.co/eCDzZLyfzs
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) February 29, 2016
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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