In the summer of 2017, the Pittsburgh Penguins reached out to St. Louis Blues and offered a first-round pick for Ryan Reaves, which the Blues couldn’t pass up. Although disappointed to leave St. Louis, Reaves was excited to play for the perennial Cup contending Penguins and be a protective force for Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, etc.
Leading up to it, it wasn’t really on my mind. In my head, Pittsburgh traded for me because they were getting beat up in the playoffs all of the time. Playoffs were coming up, and that’s why I was there or so I thought. Wasn’t even thinking about it. -Ryan Reaves
There was chatter around the league that Pittsburgh was concern about being pushed around in the playoffs despite winning two consecutive Stanley Cups.
Only had 6 fights you say? Yes but nobody wanted to fight him. I guarantee the guy that crosschecked Crosby in the face wouldn’t have done so had Reaves been cruising around. Tarasenko, Blues leading scorer and point guy with 39 goals and 36 assists, just loved Reaves around. He’s not a happy camper today with that trade. -Don Cherry, June 2017
So with no inclination that he was being shopped, Reaves continued his normal life in Pittsburgh. However, slowly the signs started to appear and of course the rumors were turning up on social media.
I got scratched. I might’ve been able to read into that because I hadn’t been scratched for a while. I got scratched a couple of days before the deadline and basically I was reading tweets that there was a deal between Ottawa and Pittsburgh. -Reaves
It still hadn’t fully grabbed Reaves attention because his name wasn’t being mentioned in the rumors. But there was something about those tweets.
I saw that the Ottawa deal went through and all of sudden it said ‘looks like Vegas is going to get involved.’ For some reason when I read that, I just thought I was going to be a part of that. Sure enough, ten minutes later there was a tweet saying ‘looks like Ryan Reaves is going to Vegas.’ Then the GM came in and told me it was true. -Reaves
There wasn’t much of a warning or a conversation after the trade was completed. It was a business decision and Reaves would have to live with it. Deep down though, he knew the trade to Vegas would be a better opportunity for him. More playing time in Vegas would eventually help his case in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent.
It was a lot of emotions. It was confusing because it was the second time I’d been traded in six months after being on one team for seven years. Also, a little bit of relief because the way Pittsburgh plays their system… there were nights I was playing four minutes a night. It was contract year and I wanted to have a good end of season. So I was a little relieved that I got the opportunity. -Reaves
It’s emotionally difficult for any player to get traded, never mind during the season. For Reaves, it was frustrating for a moment but he quickly realized that the top team in Western Conference wanted and traded for him. Which gave him a boost of confidence.
For sure. The number one team in the West making a big splash in their first year. They wanted me and I was excited about that. -Reaves
After the miserable back-to-back losses to LA, Reaves settled in nicely and the rest is VGK history.