Ryan Reaves surprised Penguins would trade first-round pick for him

As Nikolaj Ehlers was looking elsewhere to bat a puck out of mid-air, Ryan Reaves bowled into him to draw the ire of the Jets.

Ryan Reaves was a bit surprised at the price the Pittsburgh Penguins paid to acquire him.

The 30-year-old told Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch how he heard of the draft-night trade that sent him, and the 51st-overall pick, to Pittsburgh in exchange for forward Oskar Sundqvist and pick No. 31.

Reaves received texts from St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong and former teammate Chris Stewart, before checking Twitter to find out the details.

“First thing I saw was, ‘It sounds like Reaves is going for a first-rounder,'” Reaves said. “I was like ‘OK, obviously that’s a bunch of garbage.'”

That the Penguins felt the need to add toughness (Reaves had 13 points and 104 penalty minutes in 80 games this past season) to a team that became the first back-to-back champions of the salary cap era, surprised some.

But Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford said adding a player with Reaves’ toughness was a priority due to the physical punishment doled out to his stars. Captain Sidney Crosby missed time in the playoffs after suffering yet another concussion.

Crosby has already welcomed his newest teammate into the fold, saying he’s “really happy” to have Reaves on the Penguins.

The Blues took Russian forward Klim Kostin with the first-round pick earned in the Reaves trade, while the Penguins took defenceman Zachary Lauzon out of the QMJHL with pick No. 51.

Reaves has just one year remaining on a contract that carries a $1.125-million cap hit.

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