ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Carl Hagelin and David Perron both struggled to score this season, and their teams are hoping a swap of scenery will change both forwards’ fortunes.
The Anaheim Ducks traded Hagelin to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night for Perron and defenseman Adam Clendening.
The Ducks announced the exchange of two slumping 27-year-old left wings after their 4-2 victory over Dallas.
“Two players probably both needed a change,” Anaheim general manager Bob Murray said Saturday. “I don’t think the fit was great for us (with Hagelin), and David is struggling to fit in with the Pittsburgh group.”
Hagelin had four goals and eight assists in 43 games during his first season with the Ducks, who expected steady scoring from the Swede. Anaheim acquired Hagelin in a summer trade with the New York Rangers for Emerson Etem and signed him to a four-year, $16 million contract.
But the speedy Hagelin never appeared to find a comfortable groove until the last few games with the Ducks, who have the NHL’s lowest-scoring offense by far this season.
Hagelin showed some promise when moved onto a line with center Ryan Kesler lately. After working through an upper-body injury in training camp, Hagelin has played in every game this season for Anaheim, and he had an assist while playing 15:03 against the Stars in the Ducks’ seventh win in 10 games.
“I think training camp hurt bad, him not being able to play in training camp,” Murray said of Hagelin. “I’m not going to put this all on Carl. I just think this team was not ready to start the year this year, and it put a lot of pressure on new players, and it’s not fair.”
Perron is a three-time 20-goal scorer, but he has only 16 points in 43 games this season with the Penguins. He is in a 19-game goal drought since Dec. 1 despite playing on a line with Sidney Crosby lately.
“He should be motivated,” Murray said of Perron. “I think he definitely needed a change of scenery from Pittsburgh. We’ve all seen him get hot at times, and we could use someone to get really hot. He’s definitely skilled. You’re hoping he comes in and the chemistry is good with whoever he plays with and he fits in right away.”
The physical left wing spent his first six NHL seasons with St. Louis. Perron posted a career-best 57-point season in 2013-14 for Edmonton, which traded him to Pittsburgh last January for a 2015 first-round pick and Rob Klinkhammer.
Perron also will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, giving financial flexibility to the Ducks.
“We have some young (restricted free agents) coming up, so it was a definite move for the finances that way,” Murray said. “Hopefully he comes here and he’s excited, and he’ll get to play with one of our good centermen. He’s been known to light it up, and it can’t hurt us.”
Clendening has five points in 30 career NHL games with Pittsburgh, Vancouver and Chicago since making his NHL debut with the Blackhawks last season. He appeared in nine games for the Penguins this season, getting one assist.
Murray said Clendening will stay on the Ducks’ roster for now instead of heading to the minors.
Murray isn’t done making deals to improve the Ducks, who are still in the thick of the playoff chase despite their miserable start. Anaheim has featured prominently in rumors surrounding disgruntled Tampa Bay forward Jonathan Drouin, but Murray only chuckled about him.
“There’s more than just him that’s probably out there available right now, let’s leave it at that,” Murray said. “We’re looking at a whole bunch of things. We know he’s there, but there’s a few others out there, too, that haven’t requested trades.”
Anaheim also sent defenseman Simon Despres to its AHL affiliate in San Diego on a long-term injury conditioning loan. Despres earned a new contract with his excellent play after arriving from Pittsburgh last season, but he has missed the last 39 games with a concussion.
Murray said defenseman Cam Fowler skated early Saturday, taking another step in his comeback from a sprained knee. The Ducks’ ice-time leader is expected to be out 4-6 weeks after getting hurt Dec. 27.
Anaheim’s next game is at home against Los Angeles on Sunday night. The Penguins host the Hurricanes on Sunday.
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