It may not be a necessary move to make right now, but the Pittsburgh Penguins will soon discover that in order for them to go all the way, they must fetch Crosby another wing.
Although his wingers Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis are viable right now, what do you think the Penguins cup chances would be if they had a forward like Jaromir Jagr skating with Crosby?
Jagr, currently playing for the Dallas Stars, was thought to sign with the Pens before he inked with the Philadelphia Flyers last season. And as his age (40) goes up, his chances of lifting the Stanley Cup diminish because of his unannounced impending retirement.
He is only signed through the rest of this season and the Stars look far from being cup contenders. Ray Whitney, one of the Stars important skaters, just recently went down 4-6 weeks with a broken foot and the team is sitting at a measly 6-5-1 through 12 games.
If there is any rental player that could help the Pens march to a Stanley Cup this year–it’s Jagr.
Helping the Penguins win consecutive championships in 91′ and 92′, Jagr was a force for the organization.
Spending 11 years with the team, Jagr collected five Art Ross trophies and one Hart. And he currently ranks second all-time in every offensive category for the Pens, except for points-per-game.
Anybody else remember when the Pens acquired forward Marian Hossa? Or how about when they traded for veteran forward Bill Guerin?
In both those years following the transactions, Pittsburgh went all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. And in the year they acquired Guerin, the veteran provided just the right amount of leadership the team was lacking to finally bag them a cup.
But since then, Crosby’s been mixed and matched with various wingers–Kunitz and Dupuis for the most part–and it just hasn’t been enough pressure for opposing teams.
Do the Pens really think they’d feel comfortable with a possible cup matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks?
Yeah Pittsburgh can beat up on the East, but will they size up with the lineups out West?
In my opinion–no.
They can’t rely on just Crosby and Malkin to take them all the way because Pittsburgh is going to tire them out. Okay so you got Malkin a winger in James Neal, now where’s Sid’s James Neal?
Going back to the Blackhawks and using them as an example–their top line has Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, while their second line has Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp. All four of those players are Crosby/Malkin caliber-type weapons. Not to mention they’ve steadily received contributions from their secondary scoring every game this year.
Maybe the answer to the Pens solution is to move either Dupuis or Kunitz to the third line. And since Kunitz has had quite the start and plays a prominent role on the first power-play unit, Dupuis looks like a good fit for the change.
After having his career-best season last year, Dupuis has started relatively mediocre. Although he’s got chemistry with Crosby, Dupuis only has eight points (4G, 4A) through 13 contests on the year. You might be thinking that’s not so bad, but looking at Jagr, he has just as many points through 11 games.
Jagr also plays in arguably a harder conference (West). Not to mention he skates on a line that doesn’t include the name Crosby or Malkin and on a team with which he has no past history with.
But if the Pens re-acquire the Pittsburgh legend, they’ll most likely have to move some cap. And the decision to trade away specific players should make it a no-brainer for the Penguins.
Get rid of Paul Martin.
How many more times do Pens fans have to endure the sporadic defensive performances from Martin? One minute Martin’s showing his worth, the next he’s not contesting opposing team’s offensive rushes and showcasing poor puck management.
His contract is a hefty one; So it should almost, if not totally, match that of Jagr’s. And with the way Tyler Kennedy has performed, Pittsburgh might want to try and unload his contract as well. Cause if they acquire Jagr and move Dupuis to the third line, they will have no need for Kennedy.
If they don’t feel it is necessary to trade those specific players, which I don’t see why they wouldn’t, they’ve got a plethora of young prospects to pick from.
With that being said, they probably won’t look to trade Derrick Pouliot, who was the Pens 2012 first round selection (8th overall) and key piece in the trade that resulted in Jordan Staal going to Carolina.
However, players like Joseph Morrow, Dylan Reese, Olli Maata, as well as others could become expendable if Pittsburgh in the end has to resort to surrendering one of there young prospects. And although it may be easier because of the options they could go, deciding on the players specifically is whats ultimately tricky.
Whichever way the organization decides to go, it’s beneficial to know that they have the luxury of multiple options.
Rumors had circulated that when Jagr inked with the Flyers for last season, that he had shunned the current co-owner of the Pens Mario Lemieux after Pittsburgh refused to give Jagr the type of dollars he was pursuing. And when he signed with Philadelphia, questions as to Jagr’s will and motivation to put on a Penguins sweater ever again emerged.
Fans in Pittsburgh booed the ex-Penguin icon every time he touched the puck and the CONSOL Energy Center attendees would throw up Jagr signs questioning his loyalty. Because since he left the Pens, he’s played with three of their biggest rivals, the Capitals, Rangers and Flyers.
But if he was to be re-acquired, the legacy he could build with Crosby could become cemented and fans in my opinion would be open arms. A Stanley Cup changes everybody’s mentality.
And the sooner the organization comes to realize that Crosby needs a wing, the easier it’ll be to trade for Jagr, considering how short the season is.
If not Jagr, Jarome Iginla was also pitched in a previous article.
Jaromir back in the black and gold–make it happen.