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Insider Only Are the Penguins and Senators a match to address organizational needs for both teams?

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“If you have a pulse and you’re a defenseman, teams are interested in you,” an NHL scout joked to me this week.
Several teams are keeping an eye on the market for depth defensemen, among them include Islanders, Oilers, Red Wings, Senators, Bruins, Canadiens, Panthers, Maple Leafs, Wild and Kings.
With NHL rosters needing to be finalized by 3:00 p.m. on Friday, the Penguins intend to hold organizational meetings on Thursday morning following tonight’s Black and Gold scrimmage with the team expecting to have a final decision on the direction they will take on the blueline.
With nine waiver eligible defensemen, the key decision is coming down to Simon Despres. Team sources say the coaching staff strongly wants Despres to start the year in Pittsburgh and view him as one of the Penguins top-6 defensemen, but going into training camp, management had been a bit lukewarm on Despres prospects of starting the year in Pittsburgh. GM Ray Shero said on Sunday that the coaching staff will make the call on who they want to start with but will it play out like that?
Chatter in league circles is teams who have spoken to the Penguins believe the team is looking to get something for Brian Strait before Saturday’s opener vs Philadelphia and prefer to move him over Robert Bortuzzo or Ben Lovejoy were they to start the year with Despres. However, If no market develops, there’s mixed signals on whether the Penguins would be willing to risk losing Strait on waivers for nothing, despite the Penguins having an immediate replacement on the organizational depth chart in Dylan Reese who the Penguins feel could step in on a short-term basis were injuries to pop up on the Penguins blueline.
The Penguins are believed to still be leaning towards carrying 13 forwards and 8 defensemen to start the year. Despres is obviously the X-factor in the situation.
A scout I spoke with proposed the Penguins should be looking to the Ottawa Senators as a possible match in trade talks for both teams.
Can the Penguins turn Strait and maybe another mid-tier defenseman in their system such as prospect Philip Samuelsson for a young up and coming NHL ready forward from the Senators system?

It’s something the scout said Pittsburgh should explore.
The Senators desperately need defensive depth and would like to do so from a cost effective standpoint, making the Penguins a potential trade partner. The Senators could address a big need for the Penguins; NHL ready forwards in their system. The Senators have one of hockey’s deepest and best group of forward prospects in the league.
Who would be an ideal fit in the Penguins offensive system?
“The kid I really like is {Mike} Hoffman,” the scout said. “Developing two-way game……Great skater and hands and he’s knocking on the door for NHL action.”
Hoffman, 23, was the Senators 5th round pick in 2009 and a former elite goal scorer in the QMJHL for the Saint John Sea Dogs. He has 10 goals and 22 points in 34 games for Binghamton of the AHL. He’s possesses the skill set of a potential top-6 forward but is down on the Senators prospect chart because of how deep they are up front.
HockeyProspectus lists Hoffman as the Senators No. 11 rated prospect.
MORNING SKATE FOR BLACK AND GOLD SCRIMMAGE
The Penguins are going through a morning skate as we speak in preparations for tonight’s Black and Gold Scrimmage at 7:00 p.m..
Players in Wilkes Barre are en route after playing last night.
LINES AT MORNING SKATE
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
Eric Tangradi – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Matt Cooke – Brandon Sutter – Tyler Kennedy
Tanner Glass – Dustin Jeffrey – Craig Adams
Beau Bennett – Joe Vitale – Jayson Megna

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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