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Zbynek Michalek Trade: Penguins Ship Defenseman Back To Phoenix, Get Three Youngsters

The Penguins cleared more cap space with yet another deal Friday night.

January 11, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek (4) lines up for a face-off against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
January 11, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek (4) lines up for a face-off against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

In a wild day that also included the trade of Jordan Staal and the draft of two first-round picks, the Penguins made another move late Friday night, sending defenseman Zbynek Michalek back to the Phoenix Coyotes.

Pitt has dealt Z. Michalek to Phx in exchange for prospect Harrison Ruopp plus a 3rd-round pick this year (81st) and goalie Marc Cheverie.

Michalek spent five seasons with the Coyotes before coming to the Pens two years ago.

Of the three players the Pens will receive, Ruopp is the most highly-regarded, although he's not a top prospect. He doesn't appear to be much of a scoring defenseman at all, but he's apparently very strong on the defensive end.

Nonetheless, this trade appears to be mostly about clearing Michalek's salary, which should increase the volume of the Zach Parise rumors that came out in full force earlier on Friday. The Penguins now have a lot more cap space than they did a few hours ago.

For more on the Penguins' big night, be sure to check out PensBurgh.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.