The Pittsburgh Penguins currently sit in a three way tie for second place in the Metropolitan division with the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets. It doesn’t look like anyone is going to catch the first place Washington Capitals and because of that, the Penguins will likely play one of Columbus or New York in the opening round of the playoffs. The trade deadline is a little over two weeks away and there’s been a few rumors of what the Penguins want to do. Here’s a look at what the Penguins can try to do at the trade deadline.
Trade for a defenseman:
Pittsburgh’s forward depth is arguably the best in the league and even though they’re without four of their forwards due to injury, they can still make up for it because it’s so deep. What the Penguins need to address, is getting another defenseman; whether it’s a number seven or potentially a top four guy.
The Penguins defense when healthy is a solid unit but if one of their defenseman goes down, the subsitute is likely Chad Ruhwedel or Steve Oleksy. I don’t think the Penguins would be very comfortable putting either of them in for a playoff game and you can never have enough depth on the blue line. Even though he’s hurt right now, Cody Franson wouldn’t be a bad option for the Penguins as he wouldn’t cost much. He also would likely be back right around the deadline. Reports had him only being out for two to three weeks last week. There’s other options that I’m sure Jim Rutherford will be looking at but he definitely doesn’t have to make a trade for someone like Kevin Shattenkirk since it would cost so much.
Trade for an impact forward:
This isn’t likely going to happen but with Jim Rutherford as general manager, anything is possible. Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche has been linked to the Penguins the past few days, but it’s been reported that the asking price is very steep. Colorado reportedly wants a young defenseman, a top draft pick, and a top prospect in return for him.
That’s likely a bit too steep of a price the organization. Parting with top prospects like Daniel Sprong or even Jake Guentzel, seems unlikely. Pittsburgh has also traded away a lot of draft picks over the years in order to try to win the Stanley Cup and it’s something that Rutherford would like to avoid as he wants to make sure this team has a bright future.
Duchene would be a great pickup for the Penguins as he fits Mike Sullivan‘s system perfectly. He also would likely play on Sidney Crosby‘s line since the two of them are very close friends; they train together during the summer. Colorado has made some questionable moves these past few years but Pittsburgh shouldn’t overpay for Duchene if the asking price is too steep.
This has been the most talked about situation this season for the Penguins and it’s not going to go away until the trade happens. Pittsburgh can certainly trade him if they feel the deal makes sense but they can also wait until the season is over and deal him before the expansion draft. Regardless of which they choose, they have repeatedly expressed that they will try and find the best solution for the veteran net-minder.
Rutherford will likely take his time and evaluate each offer if they come around and decide what the best course of action is. A wise move would be for Marc-Andre Fleury to stay for the rest of the season. The Penguins don’t want to risk not having a capable netminder ready to go if Matt Murray gets hurt.
There will likely be many more trade rumors surrounding Fleury in the next couple weeks leading up to the deadline and it’s going to be interesting to see if Rutherford pulls the trigger at the trade deadline or before the expansion draft.