WAIT AND SEE MODE
Penguins GM Ray Shero is always looking to improve his team at the deadline, and the team enters the final hours of the trade deadline with an open mind on several fronts, a team source says.
What Shero and many GM’s around the league have been met with is a tough market highlighted by few players available and high asking prices for marginal impact players. Pittsburgh like a few other top contenders who are looking to add but not desperate to make a move, are waiting for the prices to hopefully come down as the deadline inches closer.
As of late Sunday afternoon, the Penguins were said to still be in wait and see mode when it came to players of interest on their trade board.
Ideally the team would like to add a scoring forward but have been actively coveting a third line checking center as insurance for Sidney Crosby, in addition to some grit on their third and fourth lines.
Problem is there are few scoring forwards available who are a fit, and there’s few checking line centers available and the one’s who are like Buffalo’s Paul Gaustad and Blue Jackets centerman Sammy Pahlsson, (both players of interest), interest is mounting league wide and the price specifically for Gaustad is out of the Penguins price range right now.
Talk coming out of the organization is that how things were developing today, it wouldn’t surprise some if the Penguins came up empty tomorrow. Onto the rumor mill….
— One rumor making the rounds Sunday evening is that GM Ray Shero and Capitals GM George McPhee,
had a conversation this weekend regarding the availability of winger Mike Knuble who has fallen out of favor with head coach Dan Bylsma. A source says the conversation was a very short one and McPhee is looking to move Knuble to the Western Conference. Despite just three goals on the season, Pittsburgh scouts are believed to still feel Knuble has something left in the tank and head coach Dan Bylsma is said to love Knuble.
— Barring a surprise trade situation opening up tomorrow, the Penguins don’t have any plans to place Sidney Crosby on long term injured reserve to open up cap space for a move.
— An NHL source tells me the Penguins are telling teams they don’t want to move anyone off their roster. However, the likes of Dustin Jeffrey, Tyler Kennedy and Eric Tangradi are in play for a “hockey trade” and the team would be willing to move seventh defenseman Ben Lovejoy.
— Pittsburgh is among several teams monitoring the market for Avalanche winger David Jones. A number of teams though have entered the mix and the price is going to be steep as the Avalanche are on the fence of whether to move their two key sought out players Jones and Daniel Winnik.
— There’s been some chatter going around for a few days that the Penguins might be willing to take a chance on Canadiens winger Andrei Kostitsyn. I’m told the Penguins have discussed him internally and love the skill set, but have character concerns about Kostitsyn.
Acquiring Kostitsyn would cost the Penguins around $700,000 against the cap. Pittsburgh is believed to have somewhere in the $1 million range in cap space. The Penguins heavily scouted the Canadiens earlier this month when they were targeting Travis Moen before he was taken off the trade block. Nashville, Dallas and Los Angeles have been among the teams linked to Kostitsyn this week.
— A league source said if the Penguins made a surprise/unexpected trade tomorrow, look to the Toronto Maple Leafs as a likely trade partner. Some rumblings are going around between the two teams and the Leafs have several intriguing players in play going into Monday’s deadline.
Pittsburgh has long had interest in winger Nikolai Kulemin, a pending restricted free agent and former 30 goal scorer. The 25 year old is struggling this season with 6 goals on the year but the cost is high.
— After looking around at trade options this week, as of right now the Penguins are not expecting to add a backup goaltender. The price is currently too high on Minnesota’s Josh Harding and the same for Blue Jackets veteran Curtis Sanford who the Penguins discussed internally but as of today have not pursued in a trade.
— A myth going around is that the Penguins won’t move a first or second round pick in the right deal because the draft is in Pittsburgh this summer. That’s not how GM Ray Shero operates and if there’s a deal that works for now and the future, the team will move a high pick, although it’s extremely unlikely there’s a deal out there where they move their first rounder.
— A team source emphatically denied Sunday evening that there is anything cooking between the Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning regarding a potential Ryan Malone trade.
— Leading into the deadline, adding a defenseman has not been a top priority for the Penguins and all indications are if the Penguins were to add a defenseman as a last resort, it would be solely for depth purposes (No. 6 or No. 7) and at a low price. Minnesota’s Greg Zanon and the Islanders Mark Eaton are two names floating out there right now who might interest Pittsburgh for a 4th or 5th round pick. Scouts have viewed Carolina’s Bryan Allen as a “missing part” on the Penguins blueline, but as of nowÂ there is little to no chatter going around yet regarding the Penguins targeting Allen. We’ll see if that changes…