Latest Penguins Trade Deadline Buzz

Prior to the last two debacles defensively in losses to the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, the Pittsburgh Penguins have surged with a depleted lineup due to finding an identity as a hockey club:

Playing with structure in all three zones, excelling with their play away from the puck to levels that haven’t been seen in quite a few years, to just playing a smart brand of hockey in critical areas of the ice that have hidden deficiencies with the personnel.

There’s been a near 100% buy-in from even some of the most reckless players in their lineup.

Injuries or not, what’s fascinating with this club is whether they are a group that’s been underestimated.

With the East Division not as daunting as it looked that it might be, they probably have been a bit underestimated. Among the top teams, there’s not one team that stands out significantly above the rest.

But, the new regime is still in a tough place with the deadline just days away. You hate to punt on any deadline to improve the club when you still have Sidney Crosby playing at a top-5, top-10 level. but Ron Hextall and Brian Burke have to toe that line of giving this years club the best chance it can without depleting the cupboard even more.

More in the mold of setting up deals for the summer, Hextall has been in a lot of discussions of hockey type moves, player for player with term type scenarios and or recouping picks, while planning to wait out the bottom-6 rental market where some bargains for late round picks or marginal prospects are expected to emerge, sources say.

The burning question is whether the Penguins do anything more than some minor tweaks on the edges. That’s the expectation of how things play out but…………

The Marcus Pettersson for [hide] Scott Laughton trade talk is certainly out there, though, others say Brian Burke is a big fan of Pettersson’s size on the backend. Laughton’s more likely a summer type target though via trade or free agency, there’s certainly some smoke…..[/hide]

Among the recent bigger names to move, Pittsburgh was not in on Kyle Palmieri nor an older rental like Eric Staal. Ron Hextall is a believer as a builder that 1st-2nd-3rd round picks are all premium picks. Pittsburgh has no intentions of going that Patrick Marleau route again for a player 35+ in just throwing out third round picks like they’re seventh rounders. Now on deadline day in the final hour or hours, someone like a Tyler Bozak, that Brian Burke knows well, could be an exception in targeting an older player as the anticipation is a player like Bozak could be had for a late round pick and some bargains will be out there.

Pittsburgh’s 2021 draft is gutted due to past moves. They own a second, fifth and multiple seventh round picks.

The one rental forward that greatly interest at least one prominent member of the new brass is To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!