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Insider Only Lack of Fleury Market has Penguins in a Cap Crunch

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Morning Pens Buzz

The Pittsburgh Penguins had a couple different plans in place this week on how they were going to attack free agency on July 1.

Everything would be determined by whether cap space would be created or not this weekend at the draft.

One day into the draft, the Penguins are moving forward this off-season with intentions that a significant amount of cap space will not be created via a Marc Andre Fleury trade or any other moves.

“We’re going to have our nose right up against the cap,” Rutherford said on Friday.”

A trade market for Marc Andre Fleury has not evolved to the Penguins’ surprise. While the Calgary Flames were linked to Pittsburgh heading into this week, Calgary and Pittsburgh never engaged in substantive talks with offers exchanged, sources say. Calgary’s attention was on other targets in the days leading up to Friday’s acquisition of Brian Elliott.

Pittsburgh was never presented with the same offer the Flames made for Elliott or any offer at all from the Flames when it comes to their current backup netminder.

Where does that leave Fleury’s future?

The Penguins are accustomed to the fact right now that Fleury is going to start the season in Pittsburgh or barring something unforeseen developing, it won’t be a trade that creates much of any cap space. The Penguins internally don’t see that type of trade being out there at any point this summer, especially before July 1.

“We may be a little bit active on the first of July, but it’s not going to be one of the top guys,” Rutherford said.

The Penguins still feel they could be in the market for a complementary player who wants to chase a championship at a discount or rebuild his value.

Jim Rutherford publicly stated again on Friday that his preference is to start the season with both goaltenders.

“That’s the preference,” Rutherford said. “That’s been our preference from the end of the season.”

Trading a goaltender with a $5.75 million cap hit then becomes extremely difficult during the season.

The stance the Penguins continue to take about it being their preference is an easy one to take when there’s little to no market.

Right now there just isn’t a market for Fleury.

Maybe Ottawa circles back at somepoint this summer but we shall see.

More Buzz

— The Penguins hold the 55th and 61st overall picks in the second round. Looking to restock their prospect group on the blueline, the Penguins will take a defenseman with one of the picks.

Maybe two.

“It’s a very, very deep draft,” Rutherford said. “Our guys feel good that we’re getting two good players that will play with the Penguins some day. I think based on where our organization is at, ideally we get at least one defenseman there, maybe two. But we’ll see how it falls.”

The Penguins love puck skating defenseman who can skate and two names to watch on their radar today include Shawinigan’s Samuel Girard (5-9, 165) and Adam Fox (5-11, 185) of the USA Under-18 program. Girard is one of the most offensively gifted defenseman in the draft, scouts tells me. Elite speed and quickness and would be a bona-fide first round prospect if he was three inches taller.

— The Penguins will tender restricted free agent Beau Bennett but I’m told it’s a situation similar to Tyler Kennedy in 2013, retain the rights as a paper move but try to find value for a trade as both sides realize a fresh start is needed. Pittsburgh was able to get a second round pick for Kennedy that helped them move up to select Tristan Jarry.

Just don’t see the Penguins being as lucky with Bennett. The Penguins are again floating Bennett’s name to see what type of interest is out there, league sources say. The team would love to get back into the third round in this deep draft and are shopping Bennett for a third rounder. A Bennett trade is considered better than 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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