Latest Penguins Buzz

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings have held trade talks [hide] in the past seven to 10 days, multiple sources confirm.

While a wild rumor surfaced this week that the Kings have looked into trading for Marc Andre Fleury with the intention of either trading or buying Fleury out at seasons end, that speculation has been strongly debunked.

Penguins sources say there has been no discussions with the Kings about Fleury.

The Kings and Penguins, though, have had some talks regarding current backup Mike Condon. If the two sides were to strike a deal, Pittsburgh would receive a draft pick or low tier prospect.

However, the Penguins have told teams they don’t plan to place Condon on waivers anytime soon, though, few are buying it with Matt Murray potentially back next week.

It is possible the Penguins could roll the dice with 13 forwards, 7 defenseman and 3 goaltenders in the short-term but what’s the point?

Pittsburgh has been studying the Kings prospect group.

— The Penguins are operating with the mindset that Marc Andre Fleury will have to be automatically protected in the expansion draft. The official list of players with no movement clauses that the NHL has sent to the NHLPA to sign off on (players who be will be automatically protected) has Fleury on it.

The Fleury situation continues to get more interesting by the day in that two league executives this week following the Matt Murray signing indicated that Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has a strong mandate coming down from team CEO David Morehouse that under no circumstances is Fleury permitted to be traded this season.

“Jim’s hands are tied,” one executive said.

Unlike Ray Shero who had a clause in his contract that gave him final say on all acquisitions, Rutherford reports directly to Morehouse.

Morehouse is said to be such a fan of Fleury’s and have so much respect for Fleury, some around the league believe the Penguins buying out Fleury at seasons end will be strongly considered (as a sign of respect towards Fleury) to let Fleury be a free agent and sign where he wants.

— One reason Derrick Pouliot’s name had been out there in trade talk since the summer is that the Penguins have no plans on protecting him in the expansion draft. That goes for a lot of players around the league. Players with value who aren’t likely to be protected are being floated around, another reason Eric Fehr’s name has been out there.

NHL club’s have a pretty strong idea on who is going to be protected and who’s not.

For Pouliot who will be sidelined for months with a lower leg injury, he’s now off the table as a trade asset for the Penguins this season.

At forward the Penguins will be protecting Sidney Crosby (automatic, NMC), Evgeni Malkin (automatic, NMC), Phil Kessel (automatic, NMC), Patric Hornqvist, Carl Hagelin as the main five. Nick Bonino would certainly be a sixth if the Penguins resign him.

Long ways to go, but with the likes of youngsters Jake Guentzel, Daniel Sprong and others being viable options next season, it’s not of the realm of possibility that the Penguins are forced to maybe shop a Scott Wilson, Conor Sheary or Bryan Rust before the June 20 expansion draft to get value back if the Penguins are fearful that they’ll lose one of them to Vegas.

That scenario is something the Penguins believe is a strong probability, losing a promising young forward.

What the Penguins end up doing on defense will be fun to watch. Kris Letang, Brian Dumoulin are the only two locks on who will be protected. Because Olli Maatta is so young and in the first year of a six year, $24 million contract, prior to the season it seemed to be a lock he would be protected just because of the commitment the Penguins made.

Now that’s not the case at all.

If the expansion draft was tomorrow, Pittsburgh would be leaving Maatta unprotected and hoping Vegas took him off their books.

The two options clubs will have is:

*Seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender
*Eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender

There’s a lot more certainly at forward on what the Penguins will do months from now. [/hide]tiops-small