In the spirit of being realistic, not selfish, let’s look at the Metro Division and pick one player to join the Pittsburgh Penguins and make them better.
Over the years, the Pittsburgh Penguins have had several “double agents” either come to them or leave and join a “close” friend. Typically teams don’t like to sell or allow players to move to organizations in their division, but with a practical strategy, we are going to do just that.
The Metropolitan Division is packed with solid teams that have real talent when it comes to their key players. From the Flyers to the Hurricanes and everyone in between, each group holds unique expertise that the Pittsburgh Penguins could certainly use in the future.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils are loaded with young, ripe talent, but that’s not who we are looking for when it comes to adding to the Penguin’s needs. The Pens potentially will need help out on the wing, insert Nikita Gusev. His 44 points this season landed him second in the team. You’d love a Hischier or Hughes, but the give away for them would be way too high. Gusev has developed well and fits perfectly.
Making the Pittsburgh Penguins better via the Metro Division
New York Rangers
There’s no doubt that the Penguins may be needed additions to the defense in the coming years, and the Rangers have just the ticket. Anthony DeAngelo is the name; offensive defending is his game. Every year his +/- has gotten better, and so has his ice time. Since arriving in New York via a trade with Arizona, he has turned into one of the best offensive defenders in the league.
New York Islanders
If you can’t beat them, join them. Jordan Eberle played lights out against the Penguins during the playoffs last year, and even though he didn’t play as well this season, he’s still a hot commodity. Towards the top of Islanders in stats, this right-winger has been a shining light during a not so shiny season.
Columbus Blue Jackets
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The Blue Jackets, like the Penguins, dealt with an onslaught of injuries this season. One of those players was the defensive guru, Seth Jones. Jones, now 25 years of age, has a knack for the postseason and shutting down top attackers. He could slide right into the Penguin’s second line and push John Marino in competition for the best future blueliner.
If this were an article from the heart and not one of the real needs, then you know Jordan Stall would be the pick. However, as much as it hurts to say it, he’s not needed anymore. Who the Pens need is Martin Necas. Necas is young, skillful, and could take over the 3rd line if Bjugstad leaves this season. He’s caught up in a mix of youth and sometimes takes a back seat to the others.
The cross-state rivals have a plethora of talent in the defense, and one of them with the perfect formula of youth and skill is Travis Sanheim. Sanheim finished as 3rd in points for defenseman but still ranked in the top 7 overall. We’d pick no one if given the option, but for argument’s sake, he’s a good fit and choice on the defending side of things.
The division winners are filled with talent, hated talent, but still ability nonetheless. Sticking with the mantra of defense, we look at adding Nick Jensen to the Penguins. Jensen has lost ground and struggled since joining the Caps over a year ago, but don’t let that distract you from who he is. On his day, he is a top blueliner, and just like the others on this list, it will be needed.
Well, there you have it: seven other teams and seven picks for who would be right on the Penguins. The bias was set towards the defense, but that is a clear position that will need help shortly. It’s tough to pick players from rival sides, but these guys would be an excellent addition to make Pittsburgh even better.