Latest Penguins Buzz

Insider Only Latest Pens Buzz: Is Rick Nash in the Penguins plans?

Multiple sources confirm, the Pittsburgh Penguins have looked into Columbus Blue Jackets star winger Rick Nash who the Columbus-Dispatch confirmed on Wednesday are on Nash’s approved list and have been from the start. Despite the Penguins placing a preliminary call into Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson, it doesn’t mean the Penguins intend to aggressively pursue Nash.
Internal discussions have been on-going about Nash and concerns had been expressed, aside from the Blue Jackets high demands.

The Penguins have big-big concerns I’m told about taking on Nash’s cap hit that is the 5th biggest cap hit in the NHL at $7.8 million and sources say some members of the Penguins scouting department have in the past questioned Nash’s determination, feeling he doesn’t bring it every night.
Nash though is a premier power forward in the game at 6-foot-4, 220-pounds and is just 28 years old with 40+ goal abilitiy, scoring 40 goals or more twice during his career. Goal scorers are hard to find especially premier power forwards like Nash, which has the Penguins at least discussing the possibility internally.
Nash has rarely played with a premier centerman and has scored 30 goals or more in five of his last six seasons. Nash had 30 goals and 59 points in 82 games last season.
Another intriguing aspect about Nash is his ability to make an impact in all situations. Nash has 14 career shorthanded goals and if it wasn’t for the Blue Jackets new coaching staff over the past two seasons limiting his time shorthanded, Nash’s shorthanded goal numbers would be even higher. He excelled on the PK under Ken Hitchcock during Hitcock’s time as coach in Columbus.
Trade talks for interested teams since the trade deadline have proved to be extremely frustrating with how Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson has handled discussions and Shero is the type of GM that doesn’t play game during negotiations like some feel Howson is. According to ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun, the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh, Detroit, San Jose, Philadelphia and Carolina all have interest in Nash. The Columbus-Dispatch reports Detroit, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Jose are confirmed teams on Nash’s no trade list.
The Penguins in the end are likely to look at other options and have inquired about what the Ducks are looking for in return for winger Bobby Ryan and the Penguins inquired about Ryan prior to free agency beginning on July 1. The Ducks have made it known that they are seeking a No. 2 NHL center and for Pittsburgh to get into the game, they would have to center around a package for Simon Despres, who the team is willing to dangle in return for an impact young player. Pittsburgh has no assets their willing to move to match Anaheim’s demands of a second line center. For now there has been little to no actual trade talks.
“Their under contract with those respective teams, there’s not much I can say, ” GM Ray Shero said on Wednesday about Nash, Ryan. “If there’s a trade that makes sense…. You don’t know what’s going to come your way. We have some assets, we have cap space, ” he said.
Three dark horse trade candidates NHL sources see the Penguins possibly targeting is Minnesota Wild left winger Devin Setoguchi , St. Louis Blues winger Chris Stewart and Flames winger Curtis Glencross.
Multiple sources indicated last month that the Penguins have expressed preliminary interest in Setoguchi who had an up and down season in 2011-2012, collecting 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points, including a woeful minus-17 rating.
Setoguchi, 25, is a player the Penguins have had interest in for some time and he has two years remaining on his deal with a cap hit of $3 million per season. Head coach Dan Bylsma is said to be extremely high on Setoguchi and views him as a difference maker, sources said last month
According to a Wild source at the NHL draft, Setoguchi is in play and the source said at the time that if the Wild signed Zach Parise, Minnesota would be more willing to move Setogochui, likely for a top-6 NHL defenseman. Minnesota is among a number of teams who have interest in Paul Martin but Pittsburgh has intended to keep Martin unless they landed a top-4 defenseman via trade or free agency. There are little to no top-4 D-men options in free agency.
Setoguchi a right handed shot has been a regular factor on the power play in his career, scoring 7 power play goals in 69 games last season and had previous highs of 11 and 8 power play goal seasons.
Stewart, 24, is a power forward type player at 6-2, 235-pounds who struggled last season in Ken Hitchcock’s trapping system, falling to the 4th line at times and scoring 15 goals and 30 points in 79 games. Stewart is a player with easily 30+ goal potential and had back to back 28 goal seasons in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. Ray Shero mentioned yesterday he would like to add size to replace Sullivan’s spot and Stewart fits the bill.
Stewart signed a one year, $3 million contract last month and many around the league felt it made him more tradeable this summer as Stewart is a player viewed as needing a change of scenery.
What’s intriguing about him is not just the size and goal scoring ability, it’s how well he played in Colorado’s uptempo offensive system. The Blues are looking for a top-4 left handed defenseman and could have interest in Paul Martin but as mentioned above, Pittsburgh has been against moving Martin if they don’t land a top-4 d-man.
Glencross, 29, is player who brings a lot to the table that the Penguins seek in wingers, including speed, size (6-1, 200), energy and a gritty game. Glencross has posted back-to-back 20 goal seasons and had 26 goals and 48 points last season in a second line role with the Flames. Glencross is a player who has the skating ability to fit well in the Penguins transition game and he can be a factor in all situations, collecting 8 power play goals in 2011-2012 and leading all Flames forwards in ice time shorthanded, averaging 2:12 per game.
He has a great contract with three years left on his deal with a cap hit of $2.55 million and is a second line winger for Calgary, so the price will be high as the Flames are not actively looking to move him.
Glencross though is a player the Penguins looked into during the 2011 trade deadline and he’s a player I’m told Pittsburgh could very well look into again.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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