TUESDAY’S PENGUINS BUZZ
As expected, denials of the Hurricanes moving Jordan Staal came out in full force Monday. “We’re not moving Jordan Staal,” Hurricanes GM Ron Francis told the News and Observer. The Hurricanes reportedly called Staal on Sunday to tell him the trade speculation out of Pittsburgh is unfounded.
Ron Francis wants to build around Jordan and from a hockey perspective, Pierre LeBrun also reports that the Hurricanes want to continue to rebuild around brother Eric, with the Canes financial situation being the only wildcard. “There’s no plan at this point within the Hurricanes organization to move either Jordan or his brother Eric Staal. They want to rebuild around them,” LeBrun wrote.
From agent Paul Krepelka to Jordan himself, the Staal camp is pissed on how this story has been portrayed in looking like Jordan is interested in coming back to Pittsburgh, a source in the Staal camp said Monday afternoon.
It’s been an extremely far-fetched scenario from the start and some say Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos would never sign off on trading Jordan back to Pittsburgh due to the bad blood between Peter and his son Jason, the Penguins Vice President of Hockey Operations. Jim Rutherford also didn’t leave on the best of terms with Peter, league sources say.
Sorry Pens fans there really isn’t a Staal watch and won’t be one anytime soon.
The Penguins have liked Curtis Glencross for years, as they tried to acquire him in 2011 and have showed renewed interest in him again this year. Calgary has informed the Glencross camp which teams are interested in him and always subject to change, but as of this past weekend the Penguins were not among the five teams Glencross informed Calgary he would waive his no trade clause to. The Flames have been trying to get him to expand the list to seven to eight teams.
— Lots of chatter around the league that the Hurricanes are closing in on a couple deals and highly coveted defenseman Andrej Sekera could be dealt in the next 48 hours and Jiri Tlusty, a top target of Jim Rutherford, not far behind. Tlusty is quite popular in the East from Pittsburgh, Washington, Montreal, among others.
— NHL teams don’t even bother to inquire about Paul Martin anymore because they know what the response will be from the Penguins. Pittsburgh, though, did get a serious trade inquire for Christian Ehrhoff, who has a no movement clause, from the Dallas Stars in late January that would have netted the Penguins a top-9 forward, sources say.
With the Stars on the brink of falling out of the playoffs and Ehrhoff being sidelined since Jan 28, no trade scenario is believed to be on the table anymore but winger Erik Cole who Jim Rutherford has a history with, could potentially become available. Cole has 17 goals in a resurgence of a season, including 14 even strength goals.
Because of the Penguins cap situation and Cole’s cap hit, $4.5 million, there’s been no chatter about Cole/Penguins but some NHL types I’ve heard from in the past day won’t be surprised to see Rutherford go after him and try to get creative with the cap. Cole’s size, physicality and north-south game fits everything the Penguins are looking for in a top-9 winger. A name to watch now going into March 2nd.
— With likelihood of losing Paul Martin and Christian Ehrhoff this summer, the Penguins have kicked the tires on some non-rental defenseman. They’re put some feelers out on Keith Yandle, who the organization loves as a fit but that looks like a deal to explore for the summer if Yandle stays put.
The Penguins feel they need one excellent puck mover/point producer on all three of their pairs. Will be a priority this summer to add a player who fits that mold behind Letang on the second pair and Pouliot giving them that puck moving presence on the 3rd pair.