Heading into the Olympic break, trade speculation surrounding the Penguins has centered around puck-moving defenseman Alex Goligoski. Goligoski who has not answered the defensive concerns that scouts had coming into the season, has the offensive ability that a number of teams covet.
With a $1.83 cap hit for the next two seasons at age 24, Pittsburgh is getting plenty of interest in Goligoski who is viewed as an asset by the organization.
There were preliminary discussions with the Dallas Stars about defensive-defenseman Mark Fistric but the Stars have not shown an interest to involve young scorer Jamie Benn in any deal for Goligoski as a number of teams have called about the young forward, including Pittsburgh.
One option that is not under any consideration is moving Goligoski for a rental player and questions remain whether there is even a long-term deal out there that would interest Pittsburgh.
Per a league source, among the four teams expressing strong interest in Goligoski include the Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning and
the Florida Panthers. Moving Goligoski in a potential deal for Dan Hamhuis would be risky from Pittsburgh’s standpoint and very unlikely, given Hamhuis demands of $3-$3.5 million per season.
Rob Scuderi’s contract ($3.4 million) has set the market for defenseman like Hamhuis.
I spoke to a cap guru in the organization last week who says adding a long-term winger with a cap hit in the range of $3.5-$4 million could still be feasible due to the prospect of young players Eric Tangradi, Robert Bortuzzo, Brian Strait and Luca Caputi all filling roles on this team in the next year or two, either on their rookie contracts or at a very low cap hit.
Not to mention, the possibility of Ruslan Fedotenko ($1.8 million), Mark Eaton ($2 million), and Bill Guerin’s ($2 million) contract coming off the books after this season.
Of the teams interested in Goligoski, St. Louis is shopping Brad Boyes ($4 million cap hit), while Florida is listening to offers for David Booth ($4.25 million) and Nathan Horton ($4 million).
However, I’m told of the three, Boyes is the most attractive option to Pittsburgh because the asking price is lower and Pittsburgh would only be locked into Boyes contract for two seasons.
The asking price to get Horton or Booth out of Florida is very steep and out of Pittsburgh’s price range. A team source doesn’t expect Pittsburgh to be a suitor for either player but did tell me not to rule out Pittsburgh looking into Boyes.
According to members of the organization I’ve spoken too, trading Goligoski is viewed as unlikely right now but the Penguins haven’t shied away from discussing potential deals involving Goligoski and that is expected to continue during the break.