Penguins notebook: Plotnikov traded, 'happy to be in Arizona'
February 29, 2016 6:04 PM
The Penguins' Sergei Plotnikov looks to make a pass Dec. 19 against the Hurricanes at Consol Energy Center.
By Seth Rorabaugh / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Left winger Sergei Plotnikov finally found a way to get into a game at Consol Energy Center.
He walked down the hall.
The Penguins dealt Plotnikov to the Arizona Coyotes, Monday night's opponent, in exchange for minor league forward Matthias Plachta and a conditional seventh-round pick.
Plotnikov, who had not played for 20 consecutive games before being dealt, made his Coyotes debut by logging 12:10 of ice time on 17 shifts. He had one shot on net, two penalty minutes and was credited with six hits.
A native of Komsomolsk, Russia, who speaks limited English, Plotnikov was clearly happy with the move when he spoke with media following his new team's morning skate.
“It's not [a] surprise for me,” Plotnikov said. “I waited [for] the trade. I want to be here. [I'm] happy to be in Arizona.”
“I want to play.”
A free agent signing this past offseason, Plotnikov appeared in 32 games for the Penguins this season and recorded two assists. He had not played since Jan. 6.
“In the Christmas [roster] freeze, when teams couldn't [make any transactions], he requested to go back to Russia,” Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said. “We couldn't' accommodate that because the freeze was on. From that point on, it was kind of like he wasn't all in here. And that's what [coach Mike Sullivan] wanted. He wanted players that were all in, and so he got pushed aside at that point.”
According to a team source, in order to keep the Penguins under the 23-man roster limit, Plotnikov was assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League Wednesday in a paper transaction which was not announced.
Plachta, 24, is on a one-year entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $742,500. A free agent signing from Germany this past offseason, he has yet to play in the NHL. In 46 games with the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League, Plachta has seven points (two goals, five assists). He will be assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
The draft pick is conditional based on the Coyotes re-signing Plotnikov.
Another person who didn't have to go far to join his new team was Dustin Jeffrey.
The Coyotes recalled the former Penguins center from Springfield of the AHL and traded him to the Penguins along with minor league forward Dan O’Donoghue and defenseman James Melindy in exchange for minor league center Matia Marcantuoni. Jeffrey was assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. According to General Fanager, a website which tracks salary information, Jeffrey, 28, is signed to a one-year, two-way contract with a salary cap hit of $575,000.
A sixth-round pick of the Penguins in 2007, Jeffrey spent parts of six seasons with the Penguins. This season, he has played seven NHL games and two points (one goal, one assist). In 45 AHL games, he has 46 points (13 goals, 33 assists).
With so many players on the NHL roster, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has struggled as of late, with seven losses in its past eight games. Jeffrey, selected to the AHL's All-Star game, can presumably help that team's fortunes.
O’Donaghue, 25, and Melindy, 22, were each assigned to the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL. O’Donaghue, a former Mercyhurst player, was not drafted. Melindy was a third-round pick in 2012. It is believed the Coyotes dealt them in order to stay under the league limit of 50 NHL contracts.
Marcantuoni, 22, was a fourth-round pick in 2012. In 17 AHL games this season, he has five points (two goals, three assists).
In a paper transaction to keep them eligible for the AHL postseason, goaltender Matt Murray, defenseman Derrick Pouliot, right winger Bryan Rust and left winger Scott Wilson were assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and recalled.
Left winger Conor Sheary also was assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton but not recalled.
Warsofsky to Devils
The Penguins lost defenseman David Warsofsky to the Devils through waivers. A free agent signing this past offseason, Warsofsky appeared in 12 games for the Penguins and had one assist.
Seth Rorabaugh: email@example.com and Twitter @emptynetters.
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