Nov 23, 2013; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler (17) during the first period against the Chicago Blackhawks at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Did Pittsburgh Attempt to Acquire Ryan Kesler?


 

Pittsburgh Penguins’ general manager Ray Shero is certainly at the forefront when it comes to the trade deadline.

Despite his front office prominence, this year may be a different blueprint than other deadlines, because the Pens’ cap-room is, uh, hard to figure out.

With injuries maligning the Pittsburgh’ lineup, it’s also affecting how Shero’ runs his business. Pascal Dupuis’ out for the season, Kris Letang and Tomas Vokoun are both questionable to even return, plus there’s Beau Bennett, who had a setback that will cost him another 3-4 weeks.

Pittsburgh was already in a borderline cap-dilemma, so, to say they have any room to maneuver towards acquiring any significant contract is unclear.

However, according to Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Pens reportedly approached the Vancouver Canucks about a possible deal for center Ryan Kesler before the Olympics commenced.

Rossi claimed he heard Pittsburgh was willing to ship center Brandon Sutter and highly-touted defensive prospect Derrick Pouliot – who was the team’s first-round (8th overall) selection in the 2012 NHL Draft.

The important note to take out of his tweet is the last part about Letang. Had Letang not suffered a stroke, who knows, the deal may have come to fruition. And I for one am thankful it hasn’t yet.

Trading Pouliot, to me, is out of the question. The guy is an absolute stud, and is killing-it in the Western Hockey League (WHL) right now. Although, I do understand Shero’s logic behind the trade, because they do have tremendous defensive depth.

Perhaps Shero was foreshadowing impending offers to both Olli Maatta and Pouliot, and he recognizes the lucrative long-term contracts already on his payroll. But, there’s plenty of other defensemen to deal.

I do like the idea of Kesler meshing into the fold though. He’s big, tenacious, and possesses the tangibles to push Pittsburgh to that next level. However, now that it’s out of the picture – at least, I think it is – Shero will look elsewhere to improve the roster.

The deadline is almost upon us – what will Shero do? We’ll see.

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