It’s all speculation right now, but the Pittsburgh Penguins are rumored to possibly have interest in acquiring either Calgary Flames forward Jarome Iginla and/or Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson by the NHL Trade Deadline April 3rd.
Iginla and Johnson have been linked to Pittsburgh mostly just because of their relationships with Pens captain Sidney Crosby.
But because the Pens are looking more and more like a cup contender every offensive outburst, GM Ray Shero might swing a few deals for Pittsburgh to look even scarier that it already does.
Mike Colligan, NHL analyst for Forbes.com SportsMoney,tweeted that as of yesterday the Pens can bring in $16 million in cap hits via trade this season and $10.6 million next season.
However- he did acknowledge that Pittsburgh still has to sign five forwards (Craig Adams, Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, Dustin Jeffrey, Tyler Kennedy.)
And to top it off, they also have to extend Norris candidate Kris Letang and the reigning Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin this summer. So a lot of that money will vanish instantaneously as a follow up to these two deals.
Still, Shero has a few extra dollars, a system full of young talent, and a past history of re-stocking an already stocked team. But more importantly, whatever Shero does, he definitely knows how to make the right deal.
Iginla, 35, will be a free agent this summer, so Shero might see him as a nice rental partner for Crosby. He lined up with the Pittsburgh Captain for team Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics and more notedly assisted on Crosby’s gold medal winning goal against team USA.
Shero has been known to trade for a Crosby partner (Bill Guerin, Marian Hossa, etc.) Now in his 16th season, Iginla has played in 21 contests for the Flames this year and has registered 18 points (7G, 11).
Johnson’s trade rumors surfaced following a report saying that a few Columbus scouts were in attendance for the Penguins matchup against the Lightning Monday night – according to Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
And it also has been said that because the Penguins missed out on Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter last offseason, they’ve been searching for that elite-type defenseman to skate with Letang.
Johnson, 26, has had a problem staying healthy this year, but returned recently to the Columbus lineup. So far this season, he’s played in 19 games and potted 9 points (2G, 7A) while skating to a disappointing minus-9.
Columbus dismissed the rumor that they are actively shopping Johnson, but they are also reportedly interested in Pittsburgh defenseman Simon Despres – per Rossi. Johnson played with Crosby for Shattuck-St. Mary’s hockey squad, so we’ll just to have to ‘dismiss’ Columbus’s trade denial.
Now, acquiring one of these names will certainly boost the team’s cup chances, but it isn’t erroneous to think Pittsburgh won’t try and get both.
Think about it. Nobody was expecting Shero to pull the trigger on Marian Hossa. Matter of fact, nobody even thought Pittsburgh was even in the mix for a big trade due to the roster they already had.
The years the Penguins reached the finals, Shero made a deal at the deadline. But because Iginla and Johnson’s names have been the ones speculated, this also leads people to believe that more changes are coming to Pittsburgh.
The Pens without question have the right package of players another team would want, so we’ll see if Shero delivers anything.