Pittsburgh Penguins Trade Ramblings Part 3: The Pens Perfect Trade Target and More…


As the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs wind down, trade talk and speculation ramps up. The Pittsburgh Penguins will be very active this summer as they look to fill a top-six role via the trade market, as opposed to overpaying in a mediocre free agent class.  At least that’s what we’re hoping for based on Jim Rutherford‘s comments.

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A few reports have surfaced on Rutherford’s plans in the coming weeks, as Dejan Kovacevic reported on air that he expects a deal with Blake Comeau to be finalized in the near future.  That news isn’t surprising, as many believe that Comeau and Steve Downie could return to fill bottom-six roles with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The two of them seem to make the most sense for this team.

It has been tough so far to get a strong pulse on what the trade market will consist of, but a few names have been dangling out there.  Names like Jiri Hudler, Karl Alzner, Loui Eriksson, and Milan Lucic have started to make their rounds in hockey circles. There are also names that were previously expected to be on the market like Dion Phaneuf that may not be. Consider that Mike Babcock stated he was onboard with the Detroit Red Wings acquiring Phaneuf this past season and it sounds like he may remain a Maple Leaf under the newly hired coach.

As far as the Pittsburgh Penguins, none of the names floated around so far are an exact fit for what they need. Of course, Hudler wouldn’t be a bad option, but adding a 31-year old doesn’t quite scream “younger and faster”, which is the goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins according to Rutherford.

One name stands out to me as an ideal fit for Pittsburgh, but he isn’t going to be easy to acquire. I actually discussed this player a few weeks back when looking at five potential trade targets for this summer, and as time goes on it seems to be more of a possibility. That player is Mikkel Boedker of the Arizona Coyotes.

I’m not going to break down all of his qualities again, as I did so in the article linked above.  But, here’s what I know so far.

It was reported in late April that Coyotes GM Don Maloney was already in talks with Boedker’s agent and working to lock up the young forward.  He was quoted in saying “we’ll continue to arm wrestle to try to get something done“.  Well, it’s been a month and there’s no sign of progress so far.  It’s a tricky situation considering that he’s a restricted free agent, but the Pittsburgh Penguins could potentially put together a package that works.

Considering the Coyotes’ shortage of centers, Brandon Sutter, whom I’ve mentioned multiple times as Pittsburgh’s best trade chip could be a fit there.  Coming off a career year for goals, his value has never been higher.  The package would have to be sweetened though, and we’d likely have to provide a young defenseman in the mix. I know what you’re thinking, but trading away youth in a position in which you have surplus to fill positions that you don’t is different than simply giving away young talent for rentals.

If needed, I would also add Beau Bennett‘s RFA rights.  Boedker is essentially going to replace the top-six spot that we all had hoped Bennett could fill at some point, and a team like the Coyotes may be interested in taking a chance on a talented, young forward.

Another option, thought many have criticized the thought, is that the Coyotes may be interested in Rob Scuderi with the Pittsburgh Penguins retaining a chunk of his salary. It would make sense for both teams, as Pittsburgh would save on years penalized as opposed to a buyout, and the Coyotes add a veteran defenseman that fits their system for fairly cheap.

The two can get creative, but the fact remains that Pittsburgh has the assets to make this deal happen if Boedker is shopped.

I’ll continue my offseason trade ramblings in the coming weeks with part four as I try to share the most up to date information on how the market’s shaping up.  We’re currently in the eye of the storm for what’s certain to be a very active summer, and I’d expect news to slowly leak until the boom after the Stanley Cup Finals have concluded.

Next: Is Trading for Alex Semin a Risk Worth Taking?

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