The Pittsburgh Penguins shipped out Evgeni Malkin’s close friend James Neal but will they be bringing in one of Malkin’s best friends?
“By doing this, we have a better chance of doing something on July 1st that may be suitable to ‘Geno,’ too,” GM Jim Rutherford said of the James Neal trade. “The deal we made helps with our cap space (Not exactly). I’m not going to call out any names, but we think we’ll get somebody to fit on his line.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins met with Gary Greenstein the agent for Nikolai Kulemin on Friday and the two sides will touch base again following the draft, an NHL source tells Inside Pittsburgh Sports. Kulemin is high on the Penguins list and It’s presumed talks could get serious between the two sides before July 1 with parameters being discussed.
Kulemin eyes a top-6 role and more offensive opportunities as his camp feels he was mis-used in Toronto. Speculation around Toronto is Kulemin eyes a four year deal in the $16 million range but could take less for the right team, situation.
Kulemin would be intriguing on Malkin’s left wing, giving Malkin a power forward type winger he hasn’t had since Ryan Malone.
Another notable top-6 and top-9 forwards the Penguins have spoken with include Ales Hemsky and Radim Vrbata. Pittsburgh met with Vrbata’s agent Rich Evans on Thursday.
Hornqvist will slide into a top-6 role, while Pittsburgh see’s Spaling as a key third line player.
“He’s a player that can play all three forward positions,” Rutherford said. “So if one of our centers gets hurt he can just slide in there, very versatile player. I think he’s very important to this deal.”
The Penguins presumably have one roster spot to fill in the top-9.
Kunitz – Crosby – Dupuis/Bennett
Hornqvist – Malkin – ?
Dupuis/Bennett – Sutter – Spaling.