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Insider Only Early returns positive from scouts on Penguins addition of Jussi Jokinen; Bortuzzo to play tonight

PENGUINS TRADE DEADLINE FALLOUT
Penguins GM Ray Shero capped off a busy week in a half, acquiring Jussi Jokinen today in exchange for a conditional seventh round pick just hours prior to the 3:00 p.m. trade deadline expiring. The Penguins in all-in mode, have reconstructed their roster by adding Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray and now Jussi Jokinen, but did so without subtracting any roster players.
Of the three, Jokinen was the only buy-low candidate but early returns from scouts is a lot of positive vibes and one scout I heard from feels Jokinen will have more of an impact for the Penguins than Brenden Morrow will and in Jokinen the Penguins didn’t have to give up a top prospect in Joe Morrow.
One scouts take on Jokinen: “Don’t be surprised if he’s {Jussi Jokinen} more of a factor than Morrow will be for them,” the scout said. “I really like the fit and he needed a change of scenery.”
How did this deal come about? You can look to Sidney Crosby’s injury.
Jokinen had been a player discussed internally for a few weeks since he went on waivers but the Penguins taking on his $3 million cap hit for next season had them passing on Jokinen when he was on waivers.
What led to this deal was management evaluating last night’s game where the Penguins staff felt it wasn’t fair to Tyler Kennedy to rely on him at the center position. The Penguins identified the need for a centerman and things fell into their lap today with Carolina needing to move Jokinen’s salary after signing Alex Semin and Jokinen falling out of favor in Carolina.
The key to this getting done was the two sides agreeing on the portion of the salary cap hit that the Hurricanes would be taking back for next season. That was a must for the Penguins.
Why the Penguins, in addition to evaluators around the league seem to like the fit is Jokinen gives the Penguins immediate insurance for Sidney Crosby, versatility throughout the lineup and key faceoff ability. He gives the Penguins options.
The Penguins expect Jokinen to make his debut Friday night vs the Rangers and all indications are he will be slotted as the No. 2 center behind Evgeni Malkin and center Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis until Sidney Crosby returns.
MORE BUZZ

— When it comes to Tyler Kennedy, management I’m told was only focused on this season and they were not looking towards next season regarding Kennedy’s future as the odds say he probably won’t be tendered a $2.1 million offer. As Kennedy falls down the depth chart with the latest moves, the coaching staff feels he is still a pivotal depth piece to this team and they wanted to keep him around. That said, NHL sources say there was little to no interest in Kennedy.
— The Penguins traded goaltender Patrick Killeen to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Penguins in the market to sign college prospects, are now at 48 contracts.
— The Penguins seem to have no immediate plans to recall Beau Bennett and assuming this group is healthy, Bennett won’t be a regular part of the playoff rotation.
LINEUP BUZZ
*Robert Bortuzzo will appear in his first game since February 28th. Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma told reporters at MSG that Mark Eaton is sick and didn’t make the trip.
*Marc Andre Fleury, as expected, will start tonight.

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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