Latest Penguins Buzz

Insider Only All Options in play? Penguins could add puck mover or defensive minded defenseman to bolster blueline

Smid LATEST PENGUINS RUMORS
With the trade market still weeks from being developed, Penguins GM Ray Shero is in the process of reaching out to potential sellers making it known the Penguins could have interest in a particular player or two.

Edmonton is one of the teams that appears to have attracted the Penguins interest.
An NHL source tells me chatter in league circles is the Penguins are among a number of teams to reach out to the Oilers about defensive defenseman Ladislav Smid, a pending free agent.
The 27 year old is a stay at home defenseman at 6-foot-3, 225-pounds. Smid leads the Oilers with 69 hits and 61 blocked shots. Smid is 4th in NHL in blocked shots.
Smid’s ability on the penalty kill has also attracted the Penguins interest, a source says. The Penguins have become increasingly concerned about a penalty kill that has been among the leagues more mediocre penalty kills since the 2012 playoffs. Pittsburgh is 18th on the PK.
Smid is a big part of a strong Oilers penalty kill unit that ranks 6th in the NHL, averaging 3:25 of ice time shorthanded per game.
How serious the Penguins are about upgrading their blueline remains to be seen and the cost to get Smid could be high if the Oilers are unable to sign him to an extension and decide to sell.
One reason the Penguins jumped at the opportunity to bring Mark Eaton on board is because of the projected cost to add a top-6 defenseman at the trade deadline.
An Interesting tidbit, though, surrounding the Penguins right now is that if they were to add to their blueline, they could go in the direction of adding a big body defensive minded defenseman or a puck mover I’m told. They are open to upgrading at both areas {at the right cost}, especially if they move a defensemen for a forward, and the Penguins are said to have a very small shortlist of two to three defensemen overall who fit one of those needs.
“They {Pittsburgh} never turn away from adding a puck mover,” an NHL source said of the Penguins.
The top defenseman overall who could hit the trade market is Calgary’s Jay Bouwmeester. Among the top puck movers who could become available include Islanders Mark Streit and Ottawa’s Sergei Gonchar. The Penguins would surely look into Gonchar but he doesn’t become available unless the Senators phase out of the playoff race in a month.
Aside from Smid, Buffalo’s Robyn Regehr could top the list of big bodied defensive minded defenseman who hit the trade market, although, scouts I’ve heard from feel Regehr is a former shell of himself.
Four notable defensemen said to already be available is Buffalo’s Jordan Leopold, Detroit’s Ian White, San Jose’s Douglas Murray, and Edmonton’s Ryan Whitney.
The Sharks are shopping Murray for young offensive help, an NHL source said and that price is likely to get lower as the trade deadline gets close. A scout a few weeks ago called Murray an ideal fit for the Penguins. It’s unknown right now if they feel the same way.
As for Ryan Whitney, he’s an intriguing buy-low candidate for teams looking for a left handed puck moving defenseman. I asked around about him and the Penguins still seem to believe he can be a productive player in the “right system.” That’s not to say the Penguins intend to go after him for a late round draft choice, just that I hear they feel he can help a team in the right system for him.

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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