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Penguins trade Jamie Oleksiak back to Dallas for fourth-round draft pick

Jonathan Bombulie
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Pittsburgh Penguins’ Jamie Oleksiak (6) returns to the bench after scoring during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils in Pittsburgh, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018.

The Pittsburgh Penguins helped alleviate an impending logjam on defense by trading Jamie Oleksiak back to the Dallas Stars for a fourth-round pick on Monday.

It was essentially the same pick they gave up to get Oleksiak in a December trade last season.

Oleksiak, 26, had four goals, 11 points and 37 penalty minutes in 36 games with the Penguins this season.

He suffered a concussion in a Dec. 19 fight with Washington’s Tom Wilson and was a healthy scratch for eight of the 12 games the team has played since Christmas, falling to seventh on the depth chart behind Juuso Riikola.

Justin Schultz, who has been out Oct. 13 with a broken leg, has been skating on his own for more than a week and is due back at practice soon. His return would have given the Penguins nine healthy NHL-caliber defensemen. Trading Oleksiak helps to fix that problem.

It also gives the Penguins a little room to maneuver under the salary cap as the Feb. 25 trade deadline approaches.

Oleksiak signed a three-year contract with the Penguins with an average annual salary of $2,137,500 in July. Before the trade, the Penguins were butting right up against the $79.5 million cap.

The Penguins acquired Oleksiak last December in exchange for either their fourth-round pick or one they had acquired from Arizona via Minnesota in the Josh Archibald deal, whichever was higher. The pick involved in Monday’s trade was Minnesota’s choice.

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Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at [email protected] or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.