Pittsburgh Penguins Trade Deadline Rumblings: Who’s The Right Fit?


The cold winter air isn’t the only thing blowing through Western Pennsylvania.  With the NHL trade deadline approaching the trade winds have also gained momentum. We’re a measly five weeks away from the trade deadline of March 2, and the Pittsburgh Penguins are in dire need of help both offensively and defensively.

There are a number of players on the block, and a number of teams that are already known to be sellers. The Penguins may need to move roster players to remain within the salary cap, but it’s time to think long and hard about whether or not the current roster gives you a legit chance at a long cup run.

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Considering the current cap situation and the recent acquisition of David Perron, a blockbuster trade is very unlikely. Pittsburgh also sneakily traded Marcel Goc to St. Louis for Maxim Lapierre in what seemed to be a deal made while Pittsburgh battled Winnipeg at Consol Energy Center.

However, according to recent reports Chris Kunitz is unhappy in Pittsburgh and would like to move on. Whether that’s true or not isn’t confirmed but moving Kunitz opens the door to different possibilities. You also have to consider what you’re willing to give up from your defensive corps now that Olli Maatta is on the shelf for the rest of the season.

All things considered, there are still some names out there that are very intriguing and realistic possibilities for Jim Rutherford and the Penguins.

A very likely trade partner is the Carolina Hurricanes. They have multiple players that fit exactly what the Penguins need, and they are clear sellers. Three players come to mind that Jim Rutherford will be very interested in if the price is right.

109. 1G, 14A, 15P.. D. Carolina Hurricanes. Andrej Sekera. 4. player

In my opinion Pittsburgh needs a physical defenseman that can take care of the front of their net and kill penalties. Andrej Sekera does not fit that mold. However, he’s a very good puck-moving defenseman that would fit Mike Johnston’s system perfectly. He also has a cap-friendly salary and could likely fit with a few minor roster shuffles. According to reports, Rutherford is looking for a top-4 defenseman, and Sekera could absolutely fill that void.

Carolina Hurricanes. Tim Gleason. 6. player. 109. 1G, 6A, 7P.. D

While Tim Gleason likely wouldn’t fit the role of a top four in Pittsburgh, he could easily step into a fifth or sixth spot while Simon Despres’ role increases. Despres has played exceptionally well this season and has showed enough to get second pairing shutdown consideration. Gleason would be a very cheap rental that may pair nicely with Rob Scuderi. I’d be a bit concerned about the speed of that pairing but Gleason does have some puck-moving skill which may be just enough for those two to be successful. Keep in mind how successful the Scuderi and Hal Gill combo was in 2009.

109. 11G, 7A, 18P.. RW. Carolina Hurricanes. Jiri Tlusty. 19. player

Jiri Tlusty is exactly what Pittsburgh needs in their top-six. He’s a skilled winger that’s comfortable on either side, and he can score. He’s creative and plays a good two-way game. He’s also a fairly cheap rental with a cap hit of 2.9 million. If there’s a forward out there that I’d consider to be the perfect acquisition, this is he. Considering the salary coming off the books and the young D-men we have for next season, it isn’t out of the question to re-sign him if things go well. With a healthy lineup and Tlusty added to the mix, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to have the ever-so-illusive three scoring line model.

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It’s still a bit early, but there are a few other teams that are all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. The Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres, and Arizona Coyotes are likely to have a fire sale, as it’s clearly time to rebuild. In Edmonton’s case, it’s time to rebuild AGAIN. Names like Chris Stewart, Drew Stafford, and Evander Kane have been thrown around, but the acquisition of Perron squashed those, as they wouldn’t fit within the cap without unloading a major salary. So who else is out there that may be able to contribute?

85. 9G, 16A, 25P.. RW. New Jersey Devils. Jaromir Jagr. 68. player

We all know what Jaromir Jagr brings to the table these days. He is still a major contributor and would fit great with a guy like Evgeni Malkin. He could also be a boost to the Penguins struggling power play, as long as they can figure out where he fits with Sidney Crosby already occupying the half wall. Would Penguin fans welcome back Jagr with open arms?

player. 98. 6G, 6A, 12P.. C. Minnesota Wild. Kyle Brodziak. 21

Kyle Brodziak is a rental that would give you some versatility in the bottom-6. He can play center or either wing, and has some offensive upside to his game. He’s also a workhorse with extraordinary work ethic. His salary is 3m/year so there would be some work involved in fitting him under the cap. But adding him would allow you to remove AHL caliber talent and give you a guy that can contribute in the playoffs.

RW. New Jersey Devils. Martin Havlat. 9. player. 85. 5G, 7A, 12P.

Martin Havlat is an interesting player due to his offensive upside and speed, but severe lack of consistency. He’s also injury prone, which is obviously a concern for a team with so many injury woes. However, he’s very cheap if you consider the potential for third-line production as he carries a 1.5 million dollar cap hit. He could fit well with Brandon Sutter and Steve Downie, which will allow Beau Bennett to stay in the top-6. He isn’t a home run acquisition but someone I’d be willing to gamble on in exchange for a late round pick.

4. player. 116. 6G, 23A, 29P.. D. Toronto Maple Leafs. Cody Franson

Yes, I know this one is far-fetched. But if Rutherford is looking for a top-4 defenseman Cody Franson is the ideal pickup. He’s in the last year of his contract in Toronto and likely going to test the free agent market, and he’s the epitome of what the Penguins are lacking on the blue line. Franson needs to work on using his size more effectively but I’d welcome him to Pittsburgh with open arms.

Now for the most part these aren’t sexy, high-profile targets. But the Penguins don’t need high-profile targets; they need guys to fill a few voids. My assumption is that Rutherford will stand pat as the cap is currently extremely tight and any move would be a challenge. If anything, a guy like Gleason would be doable and give us veteran defensive depth and a physical presence. Of course, if there’s truth to Kunitz wanting out of Pittsburgh we could potentially see some shuffling on that front. The real question is, given the current roster when all players are healthy; does this team have the ability to make a run?