Pittsburgh Penguins Weekly Rumor Round Up: Trade Rumors Galore, NHL Draft, and More


The NHL draft is tonight, which means the rumor mills are well heated and the Pittsburgh Penguins are the center of many of these rumblings. What better day to round up all of this week’s rumors and speculation?

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For the most part, few names have changed over the past two weeks regarding who the Pens will target via trade. And, the issue remains that the Pittsburgh Penguins simply don’t have assets to pull off a major deal unless they move someone like Derrick Pouliot or Olli Maatta. To be honest, I’m starting to wonder if that’s a possibility.

Phil Kessel speculation is running rampant, and over the last 24 hours we’ve even heard from the well connected insiders such as Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie. According to multiple reports, the Pittsburgh Penguins are working hard on a deal to acquire the prolific scoring winger. The only way I personally see a deal being made is with Pouliot or Maatta included in a package containing Brandon Sutter and a pick. It may even require the Pens’ 2016 first rounder.

Darren Dreger also speculated that a deal is brewing today between the St. Louis Blues and Pittsburgh Penguins that would bring T.J. Oshie and Ty Rattie to the Pens in exchange for Brandon Sutter. But, there’s a few things to consider here…

St. Louis currently has David Backes, Patrik Berglund, and Paul Stastny down the middle. There would be no reason to acquire Brandon Sutter unless they plan on dealing one of those guys, and would probably need a deal in place before pulling the trigger. Also, most have assumed that Pittsburgh would have to sweeten the pot to acquire Oshie alone as Sutter wouldn’t fetch such a return, so why would the Blues throw Rattie in the mix?

As I made clear on Twitter yesterday…

I do believe there is a deal to be made with St. Louis as both teams are looking to shake things up. It has been rumored for weeks that the Blues were shopping Berglund, so maybe that’s why there’s interest from that side of the table. We’ll have to wait and see.

Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported that the Pittsburgh Penguins are also interested in Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes. While Skinner showed signs of greatness in his rookie year, I don’t think he’s a great fit for the Pens.

Skinner has a history of concussions, three last year as Molinari pointed out. His point production has plummeted and he carries a $5.7 million cap hit. That’s a bad combination for a team in a situation like the Pens. Unless the price is low enough, and Carolina is retaining a bit of salary, I’d stay away from Skinner. And, retaining salary on a young player like Jeff Skinner is very rare.

Of course, we all know by now that the Pittsburgh Penguins are expected to sign Russian forward Sergei Plotkinov when free agency opens on July 1. But, it has also been speculated that the Pens may be interested in Viktor Tikhonov. I mentioned Tikhonov as a good fit a few weeks ago, and still think he’d be a nice addition to Pittsburgh’s bottom-six.

Another intriguing rumbling is that there is “at least mutual interest” between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Martin St. Louis. Some have asked whether this would be a possibility, and according to Larry Brooks of the NY Post, it is.

I can’t imagine St. Louis would expect to make the same amount as his past contract, which carried a cap hit around $5.6 million. But, based on his downfall last season and poor playoff performance, this is a risky move for Pittsburgh. He may address the “faster” part of this team getting younger and faster, but his age is obviously a huge concern.

I won’t get too in-depth on the Patrick Sharp talk, as it’s been happening for weeks. We’ll have to wait and see, but I still don’t think he’s worth the return or the salary at this point in his career.

It’s always funny that on the day of the NHL Entry Draft, most are talking about trades far more than the draft itself. I won’t speculate on who fits the Pittsburgh Penguins in the draft, as I don’t get to see enough of these prospects to make a real assumption. We’ll leave that up to the guys at PensBlog, specifically Jesse Marshall as he’s one of the best for that information. You can find his latest on the draft here.

Get your popcorn ready, everyone.

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