Pittsburgh Penguins Looking to Trade for Top-Six Winger?


ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported yesterday that the Pittsburgh Penguins are looking for a top-six winger to play alongside Evgeni Malkin.

Per LeBrun:

"“The Pittsburgh Penguins are scoring goals like nobody’s business, and if they get their way, they’ll add another weapon before the March trade deadline. The Pens don’t have anything in the hopper now, but when the time is right, we’re told the plan is to try and add a top-six winger to play with Evgeni Malkin”"

After shipping out All-Star winger James Neal, who was a staple on Malkin’s wing during his time in Pittsburgh, it comes as no surprise that the Penguins’ front office is looking to fill the hole left on the second line.

Patric Hornqvist, acquired in the Neal trade, was originally thought to be bound to play alongside Geno as a direct replacement for Neal, but after finding immediate success alongside Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz the burly Swede has remained on the top line thus far.

His promotion to top line duties has left Malkin with Pascal Dupuis and Blake Comeau. While Dupuis has proven himself worthy of a top-six role in years past due to his unmatched speed, tireless on-ice work ethic, and veteran understanding of the game, Comeau seems to be playing a bit higher than his capabilities, despite his success on the second line thus far.

The Penguins are certainly not in need of any offensive help, as they currently boast the most potent offense in the league and have seen all their stars rack up points consistently. However, their overflowing treasure chest of talented young defensemen (LeBrun identified Scott Harrington, Derrick Pouliot, Philip Samuelsson and Brian Dumoulin as potential trade bait) allows them to hold some power on the trade market.

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  • Knowing that a dynamic forward could raise Malkin’s game to an even higher level, the Penguins may look to part ways with a couple of their young D-men to make that happen.

    There is certainly room for Malkin to ramp it up even more as, though he’s racked up 16 points thus far, much of that has come from the Pens’ lethal powerplay (including all 5 of Geno’s goals), meaning there is another level that the talented Russian can reach in terms of 5-on-5 play.

    Pittsburgh does have Beau Bennett set to return from injury and most likely play alongside Malkin, but considering the young winger’s propensity to miss time with injury, it may not be a bad idea to seek external help just in case. Head coach Mike Johnston has previously stated his desire to see Bennett play alongside Brandon Sutter as well, so a new winger to play alongside Malkin would simply allow Bennett to fill the role he was slated to prior to the beginning of the season.

    It remains unclear who exactly the Penguins are targeting, or the calibre of player they would be able to get, as all would depend on what exactly they are willing to give up. Pittsburgh’s defensive depth would allow them to part ways with one or more of the previously mentioned young D-men, or perhaps the veteran Paul Martin, who is set to be an unrestricted free-agent after this season.

    As the team continues to roll on successfully, however, the Pens are sure to stay the course for now, hoping that their current mix of forwards continues to rack up victories.

    Who do you think the Penguins should target on the trade market to play with Geno? Comment below and let us know!