All things considered, Rutherford would rather not trade goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in season. He’d still like to kick the can down the road a little further and worry about the implications of June’s NHL expansion draft after his team’s playoff run is done.
After all, the Penguins used three goalies en route to a Stanley Cup championship last spring. If there’s anyone who understands the value of depth at the position, it’s Rutherford.
Dave Molinari: I’m not aware of any rule that would prevent the Penguins from trading Fleury between the end of their playoff run and the expansion draft, but they would have very little negotiating leverage if they put off doing something with Fleury until then. They definitely would like to hold onto him — their playoff run this spring underscored the value of having two quality goaltenders — and the best way to make that happen would be to work out a deal with Las Vegas under which that team would agree to not draft Matt Murray if he’s exposed in the expansion draft. (Fleury, by nature of his no-movement clause, must be protected.
As the clock ticks steadily toward Monday’s NHL trade deadline, general manager Jim Rutherford makes no bones about what’s at the top of his shopping list.
He wants a defenseman.
With Ben Lovejoy out long term with an upper-body injury, the Penguins are down to six players with meaningful NHL experience on the blue line. That almost certainly will change before the deadline.
A playoff spot is hardly assured to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but, as currently constructed, they are all-in.
And if they get in, who knows in this parity-filled league — particularly the Eastern Conference — how far they just might get.
There’s a growing desperation for scoring around the league. Montreal, Minnesota, Anaheim … the list of potential buyers goes on. And if their desperation enables him to get greater value than what Kessel is providing, he has to consider the option.
Keep an eye on the Pittsburgh Penguins. Although shackled to some degree by the salary cap, Pens’ general manager Jim Rutherford is believed to be putting together his shopping list for the days leading up to the Feb. 29, trade deadline. If he can make it work, Rutherford would like to add a top-four defenceman and a depth forward.
* Now’s the time for the Penguins to trade Sidney Crosby. The No-Longer-Kid is on the downside of his peak and won’t achieve his heroics of yesteryear. Still time for the Pens to cash in on a return. Who’d be realistic trade partners? How about the Canadiens, Maple Leafs or Kings?
The Anaheim Ducks are also on the clock. That team suffered a horrific start, putting coach Bruce Boudreau on the spot. Randy Carlyle is the best NHL coach currently not working, but the Ducks could turn to former Senators coach (and yesteryear Blues winger) Paul MacLean instead.
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