Latest Penguins Buzz

Insider Only Friday’s Penguins Buzz: T.J. Oshie > Phil Kessel

PENGUINS PROJECTED LINEUP VS BRUINS

David Perron – Evgeni Malkin – Phil Kessel

Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Conor Sheary

Sergei Plotnikov – Nick Bonino – Patric Hornqvist

Kevin Porter – Matt Cullen – Eric Fehr

Defensemen

Olli Maatta – Trevor Daley

Brian Dumoulin – Ben Lovejoy

Ian Cole – David Warsofsky

Goaltender

Jeff Zatkoff


FRIDAY’S PENGUINS BUZZ

1. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan will go back with Jeff Zatkoff tonight vs the Bruins. Appears likely Murray gets the nod tomorrow night vs Carolina but Sullivan would not commit to the rotation, saying he’s comfortable with both goaltenders. Sullivan called Murray the best goaltender he’s seen in the AHL this season….Sullivan said the Penguins line combinations are not set in stone…..Looks like Daniel Sprong might sit tonight based off the skate. Porter or Sprong will be odd-man out with Bonino back.


2. Jim Rutherford has had many blunders as General Manager but after failing to lottery protect their 2015 first rounder in the David Perron trade last season, at least Rutherford learned his lesson and got Pittsburgh’s 2016 first rounder lottery protected in the Phil Kessel trade. The Penguins enter today’s action 12th in the East.


3. In November we reported the Jets and Penguins had discussed Patric Hornqvist with Winnipeg dangling Toby Enstrom as trade bait, but the Penguins were not interested in moving Hornqvist at the time.

Keep an eye on the Jets moving forward.

Darren Dreger mentioned on radio yesterday the Penguins recently kicked the tires on Enstrom. “I know that he had interest in other defensemen. Kicked tires on Toby Enstrom out of Winnipeg, but just didn’t seem to be a fit there with the money. And I don’t know that they actually even negotiated on trade. I believe that Rutherford was shooting a little bit higher,” Dreger said via Chris Nichols.

Enstrom would help but another player with a bad contract who at age 31 is heading towards the downside of his career. Enstrom has two more seasons left on his contract with a $5.75 million cap hit.


4. T.J. Oshie or Phil Kessel, who you got? That shouting scene at the Penguins draft table during day 2 of the NHL entry draft in June between Jim Rutherford and former assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald centered around many in the organization’s desire to re-engage in trade talks to acquire Oshie and close the door on trying to acquire Phil Kessel.

I wasn’t a big Oshie guy in the past, but watching Oshie much more closely now with the Capitals, he has a lot of elements the Penguins lack, a two-way top-6 winger with physicality/skill and oh yeah you’re not stuck with him for six more years with an unmovable contract. Perfect type of player on a good contract ($4.1 million cap hit through 16-17) the Penguins needed more than adding another one-dimensional winger on a big contract.

The Kessel acquisition was all about trying to keep that tiny window open but now 28 years old and exiting his prime, it’s difficult to find anyone who looks at Kessel and believes he has much of a chance of being a game changing player in years 30-34. The window of getting one great season from Kessel is only going to continue to shrink. Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

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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