Who’s Who of the Pittsburgh Penguins Trade Rumor Circus

TAMPA, FL - APRIL 18: Mark Letestu
TAMPA, FL - APRIL 18: Mark Letestu /
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matt cullen
NASHVILLE, TN – JUNE 11: Matt Cullen /

Real Possibilities

  • Mark Letestu (Edmonton Oilers, Center) [$1.8m, UFA] – This former top-line center used to work between Alexei Kovalev and James Neal… Yes, that happened, but Mark Letestu, who spent most of his career in Pittsburgh as the 4th pivot behind Crosby, Malkin, and Staal, has seen a slight resurgence in his career as a bottom-six center with the Oilers, while also working the point on the powerplay (until this year). Letestu could be had cheap, is good on faceoffs, and could solve the Penguins 4th line center dilemma.
  • Patrick Maroon (Edmonton Oilers, Left Wing) [$1.5m, UFA] – If you ask Oilers fans about Maroon, it seems everybody has an opinion, but almost none form a consensus. Depending on who you ask, he’s either a versatile power forward that can play on any line or he’s a goon with no ability. Maroon could be on the Penguins radar as the team considers what to do with an aging Patric Hornqvist, who is set for a considerable raise this offseason. While Maroon is only a couple years younger than Hornqvist, he could provide a bridge until someone like Aston-Reese is ready to step into the fray more regularly.
  • Matt Cullen (Minnesota Wild, Center) [$1.0m, UFA] – Matt Cullen holds a soft spot for most of Pittsburgh fandom. He was well-liked and contributed to both Stanley Cup championships squads, but has struggled in his time in Minnesota to fit into the Wild’s lineup. Could Cullen come to Pittsburgh for a conditional pick (a la Bill Guerin) and potentially slot into that 4th spot? It’s definitely possible.
  • David Desharnais (New York Rangers, Center) [$1.0m, UFA] – Similar to Cullen and Letestu, Desharnais could probably be had on the cheap and would provide a decent 4th line center option.
  • Derick Brassard (Ottawa Senators, Center)[$5.0m, 1 year] – This is one of the more intriguing hypotheticals available, but also the most expensive out of the realistic options. The Senators are having a fire sale, but Brassard won’t come cheap. He would slot into the 3rd line center spot, bumping Sheahan down to the 4th. This could give the Penguins a legitimate scoring threat on the 3rd line, especially with Kessel. While the price to acquire him is high, the biggest hang-up is his $5m/year salary. That means current roster players would have to go out the door to make room.
  • Thomas Vanek (Vancouver Canucks, Left Wing) [$2.0m, UFA] – If the Penguins are looking for help on the left side, especially with the uncertainty of the current injury situation, he could provide a scoring boost. With 38 points this year, Vanek has been a solid, but not spectacular member of the Canucks and might be one of the cheaper winger options available on the market.
  • Antoine Vermette (Anaheim Ducks, Center) [$1.75m, UFA] – Another depth-center option that could slot in on the 4th line, but more unlikely than Cullen or Letestu as a result of additional cap space that would be needed.