Cap space and draft selections – just two of the Pittsburgh Penguins many needs.
However, this is the NHL, and the NHL’s landscape nowadays can be altered with just a few trades here-and-there.
The Penguins are set to endure that alteration.
Now that the front office has been refurbished, and a new head coach will soon be named, the organization can focus their attention on improving the roster. And one way of bettering it would be to trade defenseman Paul Martin.
With one-year left on his contract, Martin will collect $5 million next season, and considering Pittsburgh arguably won’t attempt to re-sign the aging blueliner, it’d be wise to send him elsewhere and acquire draft selections, given the team doesn’t have that many due to various trades over the past two years. That, and it’s never a bad idea to gain picks now and jumpstart building those prospects sooner rather than later.
If said trade does eventually come to fruition, Pittsburgh might even save enough money to get defenseman Matt Niskanen to stay, who’s ready to garner some serious paper this summer. That’s not what I’m saying they’ll do, but perhaps they can offer a reasonable, substantial amount for him to mull.
Yet dealing Martin – and I’ll keep stating this over-and-over – would open the door for the colony of young defensemen in their system. And despite skeptics suggesting the team doesn’t need inexperienced blueliners, last time I checked, Olli Maatta did just fine last season. So, as long as they get the full season treatment like Maatta, inexperience won’t play a huge factor.
Another reason to part ways with Martin is his injury history. The past two seasons Martin’s been shelved quite often. Just this past season, Martin had surgery for a broken hand and broken tibia, which together he only managed to play 39 of the 82 regular-season contests. And considering the team already has issues with staying healthy, Martin’s departure wouldn’t exactly sting too bad.
The only thing that would be alarming is Kris Letang would be the best defensemen on the roster. That right there is scary. However, given his motivation to make a return to his Norris prowess is probably lighting a fire under him, who knows, maybe he’ll bounce-back emphatically. He certainly has the capabilities. He just needs to stay healthy.
With that being said, a deal involving Martin wouldn’t be the worst idea. Although he’s one of the best defensemen Pittsburgh has left on their roster, the entire bluelining crew needs an overhaul after their performances in the playoffs recently.
And Letang’s not going anywhere with his bloated contract.