Rickard Rakell was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins by the Anaheim Ducks on Monday for forwards Zach Aston Reese, Dominik Simon and a second-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.
Anaheim also received goalie Calle Clang, an unsigned draft pick.
Rakell is in the final year of a six-year contract he signed with the Ducks on Oct. 14, 2016 and can become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Anaheim will retain 35 percent of his salary.
“Thank you to all of the Anaheim Ducks fan base,” Rakell said in an Instagram post. “The support has been unbelievable and it’s been an honor to play in front of you at Honda Center. But now it’s time to move on for another adventure.”
The 28-year-old forward has scored 28 points (16 goals, 12 assists) in 51 games this season. He has finished in the top three in scoring for the Ducks each of the past four seasons.
“We like his skill set,” Penguins general manager Ron Hextall said of Rakell. “He plays with speed. He plays a fast game. So we feel like he’s going to fit in real good here. Again, it’s hard to score in this League, so when you add a player of Rickard’s resume, put him with our players , we feel like we’re a better team.”
Selected by Anaheim in the first round (No. 30) of the 2011 NHL Draft, Rakell has scored 339 points (154 goals, 185 assists) in 550 regular-season games and 19 points (11 goals, eight assists) in 46 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
“We really like this team,” Rakell said. “There’s a few teams, obviously, that have a chance to do something special. We feel like our chances are better now than they were yesterday.”
Pittsburgh (38-16-9) is tied with the New York Rangers for second in the Metropolitan Division, three points behind the Carolina Hurricanes.
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“We look within ourselves and say, ‘OK, where are we at?’ We know we have a good team,” Hextall said. “We knew we were going to make the playoffs and just wanted to add a piece that had the fit, had to make us a better team, and what we were giving up had to make sense.”
Aston-Reese has scored 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 52 games this season. The 27-year-old signed a one-year contract with the Penguins on Aug. 5, 2021 and can become an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Signed by Pittsburgh as an undrafted free agent on March 14, 2017, Aston-Reese has scored 62 points (29 goals, 33 assists) in 213 regular-season games and four points (one goal, three assists) in 23 playoff games.
“Zach Aston-Reese has been a terrific Penguin, and we thank him for everything he’s done for the organization,” Hextall said. “Dom Simon as well.”
Simon has scored nine points (three goals, six assists) in 55 games this season. The 27-year-old signed a one-year contract with the Penguins on July 28, 2021 and can become an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the fifth round (No. 137) of the 2015 NHL Draft, Simon has scored 73 points (22 goals, 51 assists) in 239 regular-season games with the Penguins and Calgary Flames and four assists in 12 playoffs games.
Clang has not played in the NHL. The 19-year-old was drafted by Pittsburgh in the third round (No. 77) of the 2020 NHL Draft and has played for Rogle BK of the Swedish Hockey League, the top professional league in Sweden this season.
Anaheim (27-26-11) is seven points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.
The Ducks traded defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Boston Bruins and forward Nicolas Deslauriers to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday
NHL.com independent correspondent Wes Crosby contributed to this report