LATEST PENGUINS SCOUTING BUZZ
Consol Energy Center has been a popular scouting place for general managers this week during the Penguins three game homestand that wraps up tonight. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli was in town Wednesday night for Flyers-Penguins and the Bruins are in the market for depth forwards, while Blues GM Doug Armstrong was in Pittsburgh Friday night taking in the Penguins – Panthers game.
Meanwhile, Penguins top pro scout Don Waddell is wrapping up a long scouting trip this week that had him seeing a majority of Western Conference teams and the Penguins continue to have a heavy presence at Minnesota Wild games in the past two weeks. Waddell was in Edmonton Thursday night scouting the Oilers – Wild then was in Calgary last night scouting the Wild and Flames.
At this point of the season, the Penguins are in the process of evaluating potential trade deadline targets as the Penguins will be conducting their pro scouting organizational meetings in next couple weeks, laying the groundwork for their plans, but scouts in the final couple months of the season are also evaluating potential free agents for this summer that might be of interest, among other things. Many times scouts being in the building to scout a particular team has no connection to there being serious trade talks going on with the teams they are seeing.
regarding the Wild, there does continue to be some chatter that the Penguins are still looking at Pierre-Marc Bouchard as a possible buy-low candidate. There is some smoke going on there and some level of intrigue and Bouchard has played well the past two games in front of Waddell and possesses playmaking ability that could have the Penguins taking a chance on him at the right price.
Another player who has played well with Waddell in attendance the past two games is role player Matt Cullen who does play the Penguins way but with the Wild still hanging around for a final playoff spot, they are not believed to be actively willing to move Cullen like they are for Bouchard or Setoguchi.
Many believe the Penguins interest in Devin Setoguchi is lukewarm at best. One NHL source says the Penguins like other teams could have acquired Setoguchi since the summer for a reasonable price as GM Chuck Fletcher has been willing to move him in an attempt to move salary and open a spot for a young player. A scout on Devin Setoguchi says “he takes too many nights off.” Setoguchi also has a year left on his deal with a cap hit of $3 million per season. That’s also a turn off for some teams.
Meanwhile, the Calgary Flames are an intriguing team leading up to the deadline. NHL executives wait to see if GM Jay Feaster finally makes the right move and goes into rebuilding mode. 30 year old winger Curtis Glencross has long been a player of interest for the Penguins and viewed by Penguin scouts as an ideal fit. Glencross has 6 goals and 9 points in 15 games this season and is signed through the 2014-2015 season with a cap hit of $2.550 million.
Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is also a player who could be on the move if Feaster goes into rebuilding mode. Bouwmeester carries a steep cap hit of $6.680 million and is signed for one more season. However, with the ability to trade cap space, he’s seen as being more attractive around the league. The Penguins briefly discussed Bouwmeester internally during the summer but it would be a surprise if they were to go after him.
The big fish in Calgary is 36 year old Jarome Iginla who has just 1 goal in 15 games. Many believe Iginla getting moved is going to be his call leading up to the deadline and Feaster won’t try to push for a trade unless Iginla orchestrates it, which is very possible as he remains unsure whether to resign with Calgary.
You would think that teams would be knocking on the door to acquire Iginla but buzz around the league is several contenders don’t have plans to pursue Iginla because of a lack of desire to pay the premium for him via trade that the Flames are going to want. Iginla’s no trade clause also limits the suitors for Iginla but one team that Iginla will want to go will likely step up to the plate.
Right now there’s no buzz in the Penguins organization that they intend to seriously pursue Iginla but there’s also no indications they have ruled him out were he to be made available. There’s no read on him right now.