The Pittsburgh Penguins are not shy when it comes to pulling off big deals.
While it certainly wasn’t an eye-popping package they got in return for Neal, both Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling could turn out to be highly effective players for the Pens. But they’re still in need of a couple big additions.
Byfuglien and Kane are both wingers, to which Pittsburgh needs two to fill-out their top-six, and while they won’t come cheap, it’s time to unload in order to bolster the forward pairings now.
Yes, first-round draft pick Kasperi Kapanen could crack the roster and eliminate one of those two winger slots, but I’ve thought this through, and I feel he may just need to take another year to develop. If he’s in there, great. If not – which there’s a good chance he won’t – I don’t see how you don’t covet Byfuglien and Kane.
The first-line’s right wing and second-line’s left wing are a mystery. Beau Bennett is probably expected to be Evgeni Malkin‘s left wing, but there’s no idea who will be Sidney Crosby‘s right wing. Byfuglien is a right, and Kane is a left – you plug the holes. Not to mention both Byfuglien and Kane are versatile enough to the point you can place them anywhere.
Now, both Byfuglien and Kane are pocketing $5 million-plus a season, so Pittsburgh would have to give Winnipeg enough to afford their contracts. They could, perhaps, get another team involved, and luck out with somebody taking Rob Scuderi. The Penguins have a plethora of defensive prospects to woo Winnipeg, and they can include Paul Martin‘s expiring contract.
As far as enticing prospects, Pittsburgh should trade Bennett in the deal, and then there’s the options in their defensive youth with either Simon Despres, Brian Dumoulin, and Scott Harrington. They also have a couple intriguing goaltending prospects with Eric Hartzell and Matt Murray, and Winnipeg needs a young netminder. I’d even throw Brandon Sutter into the mix.
I’m not entirely sure how to concoct a hypothetical deal, because it’s unclear what Winnipeg would want, but the Penguins have the resources to pull this off. The only complication is working around their salaries, due to Pittsburgh’s payroll.
Here’s what the lines could look like if they were to acquire both:
- Kunitz – Crosby – Byfuglien
- Kane – Malkin – Hornqvist
- Spaling – Sutter – Dupuis
- Comeau – Goc – Adams/Sill/Megna/Downie
This may be a pipe dream, but the insertions of Byfuglien and Kane could propel Pittsburgh to what they want to be. Besides, Crosby and Malkin won’t be young forever.
Make it happen, Jim.
Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins