LATEST PENS RUMBLINGS
— One thing that’s gotten overlooked is the potential cap implications for next season if the Penguins were able to pull off a deal for Ryan Kesler and for instance Brandon Sutter being the only NHL regular going the other away. While the cap has been projected to be $71 million in 2014-2015, a couple executives and NHL agents feel it could come in $2-$3 million less due to the Canadian dollar. One prominent agent told me yesterday a team executive told him one league projection right now is the cap could come in around $68 million.
The Penguins right now have approximately $55.2 million committed to 14 players next season. Adding Kesler would take that number to around $60.2 million with holes to fill on defense with Matt Niskanen a free agent, in line to make at least $4+ million on the open market, and at forward with the likes of Jussi Jokinen, Tanner Glass, Joe Vitale, among the Penguins key free agents. Not going to be a lot of money to throw around to fill holes on the blueline or throughout the lineup upfront in the top-6 and bottom-6.
— Brandon Sutter’s name being leaked in talks with the Vancouver Canucks has led to GM’s around the league checking into Sutter’s availability. One source with knowledge of the situation said the Penguins had discussed Sutter with at least one other team, believed to be the New York Rangers.
— Talk among NHL types won’t go away that the Penguins have been actively shopping Simon Despres in trades but one interesting wrinkle in the past 48 hours is this. Sources say Pittsburgh has been aggressively trying to get a second round pick and Despres has been shopped in potential scenarios where the Penguins get a second rounder in return with the intention of flipping the second rounder in another deal.
— It’s taken a while but some key members of the organization have come around to the idea of adding Ales Hemsky as a rental pickup. Penguins scouts have been impressed with Hemsky’s improved two-way play over the last two months and the coaching staff would like another right hand shot option for the power play with Kris Letang likely lost for the season.
Even Dan Bylsma, Hemsky not looked at as a Bylsma type player, is said to be on board with adding Hemsky after being very impressed with Hemsky at the Olympics. There’s no question Hemsky is very intriguing as a fit with Sidney Crosby due to his wheels and play making ability. They don’t love him but Pittsburgh has made their interest known, though, the asking price is a second or third round pick. Per Darren Dreger, as many as six teams have shown interest in Hemsky who scored twice Tuesday night.
The price, though, is much lower for Hemsky than it is for the likes of Tomas Vanek and Matt Moulson.