TIOPS DAILY FIVE: NHL DRAFT EDITION
*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*
1. Jim Rutherford looking to make a splash, multiple NHL sources confirmed today that the Penguins are trying to maneuver two separate trades for top-6 wingers. The Penguins had identified two wingers with a shorter term and two wingers with four+ years left on their respective deals. The grand plan would be to strike deals for one of each but lots of roster shuffling would have to take place and the Penguins intend to be patient if it doesn’t happen tonight. It’s going to be a very tough scenario to pull off and some of the chatter out there indicates what they’re trying to do isn’t realistic.
The usual suspects out there include Phil Kessel, Patrick Sharp, T.J. Oshie and Jeff Skinner. They’ve also looking into lesser names like Brad Boyes.
2. The Blackhawks losing out on Mike Reilly has many in league circles believing the Penguins and Blackhawks are a perfect match for a Patrick Sharp trade with the Penguins moving one of their high upside blueliners. This is a draft where you don’t want to be left out of the first round and it has the Penguins very reluctant to move their 2015 2nd round pick in talks for Sharp but that is always subject to change. Much more willing to move a prospect/2016 high pick. Chris Kuc of the Chicago-Tribune reported today that the Canadiens are also among the teams aggressively pursuing Sharp. Sharp makes more sense for Montreal to gamble on than Pittsburgh.
3. As mentioned yesterday, the Penguins have aggressively explored trade scenarios for Chris Kunitz in the event that they need to create cap space/roster flexibility were they to pull some of the moves Rutherford is looking into. Kunitz only moves if other moves they’re pursuing happen but the Penguins have had talks with four teams. One team that has shown interest is the Anaheim Ducks, Kunitz former team.
4. Derrick Pouliot’s name is out there a lot today. If the Penguins are to come out of the draft with one of Kessel, Oshie or Skinner, many around the league believe Pouliot would have to be involved. Carolina seeks Brandon Sutter, Pouliot and a first round pick for Skinner if the Penguins want to go that route.
5. What’s going to be fascinating on how these next couple weeks go is the Penguins direction. Right now they are all over the map in type of players they’re looking at and it’s unclear what the direction actually is. There was even a meeting with Marty St. Louis agent today.
Let that sink in.