If one potential contender is in a bad spot following the 2024 All-Star Game and looking toward the trade deadline, it’s the Pittsburgh Penguins. This organization has little cap space to work with, and they don’t have much going for them in terms of draft picks or prospects to give away.
Luckily for the Penguins, they ironically also have a lot going for them, as their core players can get hot at any time, and they are players who excite any potential trade acquisition to join either as a rental or longer. They also have a general manager who, based on his track record from his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, is no stranger to making jaw-dropping deals even in the least ideal situation.
Therefore, if the Penguins go on a run over the next few weeks, don’t be surprised if Kyle Dubas surprises us by once again working his magic at the deadline. This would also dissipate the current trade rumors surrounding Jake Guentzel.
The names listed below could be game-changers for the Penguins, but keep in mind, they wouldn’t pull off all three of these trades given cap limitations. Therefore, you will see similar trade packages for each, reflecting that they only have room for one big trade should they opt to make any.
Chris Tanev could give the Penguins some help at the blue line
Chris Tanev wouldn’t be the left-handed defenseman the Penguins would ideally seek, but he would also make an excellent complementary piece to Erik Karlsson and Kris Letang. Therefore, trading for Tanev makes sense here, and the Penguins could likely get by if the Calgary Flames agree to retain a portion of the contract.
The Penguins would give up a pair of picks for the rights to acquire Tanev, but they must also clear up some cap space to give this trade a realistic chance to work. Therefore, in this scenario, Lars Eller is the player they could most realistically give away, something you will see as a recurring theme here and in the other two scenarios.
Eller is an older player who will carry an AAV of $2.45 this year and next season, but he would also provide a strong veteran presence for teams that need them.