Pittsburgh Penguins: Will They Trade For Dan Hamhuis?


There has been speculation that unrestricted free agent to-be Dan Hamhuis, might be traded prior to the February 29, 2016 trade deadline.  One of the teams mentioned as a prime spot for the defenseman is Pittsburgh.

Hamhuis heading to the Pittsburgh Penguins was a prediction made by Jason Botchford in the Vancouver Province recently.  According to the article, the Vancouver Canucks don’t like to trade in-conference.  They also have a history of moving veteran defensemen out so they can bring up younger players.

Vancouver is likely assessing their realistic playoff chances.  As things stand today, they’re on the outside, looking in at a Wild Card spot.  With 56 points, they trail at least three Western Conference teams for a spot.

The Canucks also have very little cap space today.  Although Hamhuis is slated to become a free agent on July 1, if they could shed the remainder of this year’s $4.5 million salary, it wouldn’t hurt a bit.

So, with those things in mind, it wouldn’t be far fetched to see Vancouver trading Hamhuis.  They need to find the right trading partner though.  It’s Pittsburgh that partner?

First off, can Pittsburgh afford Hamhuis’ contract?  It would be very tight right now, as the Penguins have even less cap space than the Canucks.  It’s possible that the Penguins could trade their UFA to-be in Ben Lovejoy, along with a mid-round draft pick, in exchange for Hamhuis.  Although Lovejoy’s salary is less than Hamhuis by quite a bit, it would still get some money off the books so they could take on Hamhuis’ remaining salary.  And of course, the draft pick would be the enticer in that deal.

I can’t see the Penguins moving any of their current forwards to Vancouver in a deal for Hamhuis.  They’re just too valuable.  If any of them were to be moved, the only one that would even remotely have a possibility of being traded would be Carl Hagelin.  His salary is close to what Hamhuis’ is for this season.  But as the Pens just recently acquired Hagelin, I don’t see them moving him again.  He’s starting to get his feet under him and acclimate to the team.  

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From a defenseman standpoint, the Penguins have one unrestricted free agent blueliner in the aforementioned Ben Lovejoy.  Outside of him, the only player with enough salary to be moved in order to make the deal under the cap would be Ian Cole.  Cole is locked up until 2018-19 and is earning $2.1 million a year.  The former first round draft pick has four points in 45 games with the Pens this season.  Is it possible that he’s traded along with a draft pick or prospect?  Certainly, anything is possible here.

One thing we need to keep in mind is Dan Hamhuis health.  He had been on injured reserve, until early this month since taking a puck to the face last year.   It does seem like he is back to form though, and would be an asset for the Pens.

What do you think guys?