The NHL Trade Deadline is fast approaching. The Pittsburgh Penguins have until Feb. 26 if they want to make a deal and add players to their roster.
In an effort to complete the “three-peat”, the Pittsburgh Penguins could bolster their lineup by trading for some talent.
The Penguins reportedly had interest in a multitude of players including Michael Grabner, Evander Kane, and Mark Letestu. The latter may offer the exactly what the Pens need.
There’s an ancient saying, oft repeated by the wise and the lazy. It’s ” if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. The Pittsburgh Penguins are certainly not broke. They’ve been hotter than a Carolina Reaper dipped in wasabi, so perhaps adding a big name player that would take a big role going forward isn’t what this team needs.
So in response, I propose this: “If it’s not broke, add a bottom six forward. Because, why not? You might need him.”
It’s catchy and just the right length. Put it on a t-shirt.
A Look at Letestu
The debates regarding Riley Sheahan being able to consistently perform as a third line center have been raging. However, 12 points since January and chemistry with Jake Guenztel and Phil Kessel have helped in calming the storm.
Far far away in Alberta, the Edmonton Sun chronicled how Letestu’s time as an Oiler is as good as done. So with Sheahan’s emergence as a reliable, interchangeable piece between the third and fourth lines, Letestu’s game is one the Penguins are interested in.
The former Penguin boasts a 53.4 face off percentage. He’d rank second on the team, only bested by Sheahan (55.7 percent). He’s a right handed shot, and has also racked up 18 points in 58 games this season.
Letestu is a Bryan Rust type for Edmonton. He plays shorthanded, on the powerplay, and gets ample time at even strength. He leads Edmonton forwards in shorthanded ice time per game (1:56) and some guys named Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are the only two who average power play time (2:19).
Affordability is always a factor when it comes the Pittsburgh Penguins’ roster moves. And when comparing Letestu to some of the “big fish”, his price tag works in the Pen’s favor. Not only will his 425K remaining cap hit be a heckuva lot easier to manage than say, 5 million (looking at you Derrick Brassard), it won’t take nearly as much to obtain Letestu.
More than likely, the Pens could get him for a third or fourth round draft pick. Maybe something would have to go back (Carter Rowney?) to make the money work. I don’t know, I’m not a GM.
But I do know Mark Letestu brings value. He adds some depth down the middle, but doesn’t break the bank or sacrifice Daniel Sprong or any other prospects. That being said, the way the team is playing now, should we even be talking about trading for anyone?