Pittsburgh Penguins Trade Ramblings Part Deux: The Market Is Being Primed

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All has been quiet thus far from the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The playoffs are still underway so as expected, that’s where most of the hockey world’s attention is focused, along with the IIHF World Championships.  But, as we witness more and more teams getting eliminated from post-season contention we start to get rumblings of where GM’s are going to focus their offseason attention.

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I fully expect things to start ramping up in the trade world over the next few weeks, and really boom once the Stanley Cup Finals have concluded.  Multiple General Manager’s have been quoted in saying that they aren’t impressed with this season’s free agent crop.  Of course, some of this discussion is likely a smokescreen in an attempt to keep prices down, but I agree that this summer’s free agent class is lacking true impact players.  This summer should be very active with trades.  However, I don’t expect many big names to be moved.

Of course, the high profile names that we always seem to hear are making waves again. There are multiple rumors surrounding Phil Kessel, and one of those rumors has him heading to the Carolina Hurricanes.  How does this impact the Pittsburgh Penguins?

Well, if this comes to fruition and Alexander Semin isn’t part of the return package, the Canes will certainly look to move him this summer.  They know that they’ll have to retain a good portion of his cap hit, and Alex Semin for $4.5 to $5 million is well worth the risk.  Many have soured on Semin due to his lack of production in Carolina, but their style of play doesn’t suit him and he isn’t playing alongside Evgeni Malkin.  He could be very successful with the Pittsburgh Penguins and give them the dangerous right-handed shot on the power play they’ve been lacking.

I’m sure we’ll hear rumors of Jordan Staal coming to the Pittsburgh Penguins at some point.  I find this very far-fetched based on Carolina’s long-term plans.  Also, he has a no movement clause in his contract.  Is he going to approve a trade that makes him a third line center again?  It was rumored that he said he would accept a trade to the Pens last season, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Another name that I’ve heard floating out there is Jiri Hudler of the Calgary Flames. Hudler could be an interesting add for the Pittsburgh Penguins if those rumors are true.  He makes $4 million but had an outstanding 2014 season with the Flames.  Craig Custance mentioned that they could consider moving him or Dennis Wideman so that they can continue getting their youth in the lineup.  Hudler would be great on a win-now team like the Pens.

A while back, I visited five possible targets for Jim Rutherford this summer. They weren’t necessarily sexy, big-name acquisitions but in this year’s market they would fit well.  As the offseason progresses and we get more info on who’s being shopped out there the names could change considerably.

One thing is certain, though, if you’re looking for the Pittsburgh Penguins to make a splash for a high-profile, prolific scorer, you’re likely to be disappointed.  They don’t need it and can’t afford it.  They simply need to add speed and serviceable offensive punch to play alongside one of their stars.

I’d look for the biggest name linked to Pittsburgh to be Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks.  Chicago needs a center, so this deal likely involves Brandon Sutter if it happens, but Sharp adds a scoring punch along with speed.  My only concern is his $5 million cap hit for two more years considering he’ll turn 34 in December.  He also has a limited no-movement clause so he’ll have to approve any destinations.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more trade ramblings throughout the offseason as I’ll continue to bring you the latest rumors and updates from around the league and involving the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Next: Paul Martin Will Be Missed: What's Next For Him?

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