ADAMS FIGHTING MALKIN HAS TAKEN A BACK SEAT
The Penguins had an interesting morning. First Craig Adams and Evgeni Malkin get into a physical fight with punches thrown at a morning skate of all places, that saw Malkin beating up the 37 year old Adams, to the Malkin/Adams situation becoming back page news as the Penguins finalize a trade for David Perron moments later.
Fourth line role players fighting their teammate who is a star player just doesn’t and shouldn’t happen and it will be interesting how this sits in the locker room moving forward. Despite being so well regarded by management and has even found a way into Mike Johnston’s good gracious, Adams is not very popular inside the room. Teammates felt in the past Adams was too close to the coaching staff/management, and he is not viewed as a positive teammate to young players coming up who are trying to take his job.
Adams clout with the organization didn’t take a hit once Ray Shero was fired. Shero, Adams were extremely close with Shero envisioning a hockey operations role for Adams in the organization once his contract expired after this season. The two had multiple discussions on the topic in the past, sources said.
Mike Johnston this morning didn’t seem very concerned with the situation but if Evgeni Malkin throws a fit about it, Jim Rutherford won’t be shy to come to Malkin’s defense.
KAPANEN GOAL at World Juniors
WHAT THE PERRON ACQUISITION MEANS
2014-2015 By the Numbers
38 GP, 5 Goals, 14 Assists, 19 Points, -17, 74 SOG (6.8 S%), 74 Hits
Even Strength Numbers Numbers
5 ESG, 15 ESP, 51.7 CF%
0.57 G/60 – 1.14 A/60 – 1.72 Points/60
Three most common linemates: 1. Marc Arcobello, 2. Teddy Purcell, 3. Leon Draisaitl
2013-2014 By the Numbers
78 GP, 28 Goals, 29 Assists, 57 Points, -15, 90 PIM, 220 SOG, (12.7 S%), 116 Hits
Even Strength Numbers
19 ESG, 43 ESP, 45.9 CF%
0.88 G/60 – 1.03 A/60 – 1.91 Points/60
Three most common linemates: 1. Sam Gagner, 2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 3. Taylor Hall.
Jim Rutherford past as a GM shows he likes to strike early in making an impact trade and got out in front of other Eastern Conference contenders with the acquisition of 26 year old winger David Perron. Despite limited cap space, Rutherford has been aggressively looking into trade options since October, notably Chris Stewart and Drew Stafford earlier in the year, and talks for Perron are believed to have started from a serious standpoint in November once the Oilers put Perron on the trade block and targeted three particular teams in talks, the Blue Jackets, Flyers and Penguins with the Oilers eyeing an impact center.
Pittsburgh, though, balked, at the asking price of Brandon Sutter and as others also balked at the Oilers asking price of a legitimate top-9 two-way center, Pittsburgh patiently let things play out and many around the league seem to sense the Oilers eventually got cold feet here with Perron struggling and jumped on Pittsburgh’s offer of a first round pick.
Rob Klinkhammer is nothing more than a thrown in to this deal, despite how the Oilers may try to sell it publicly. Pittsburgh wanted to get rid of a contract as they were nearing the 50-limit and Klinkhammer was one of the three players being discussed so Pittsburgh held him out of Wednesday’s lineup as the team felt they were getting close to an agreement, sources say.
Klinkhammer gives the Oilers needed size but for a team so far away from winning, not demanding at least a mid-tier prospect with NHL upside that is close to being NHL ready like a Bryan Rust, Josh Archibald, Reid McNeil or Scott Wilson is a total fail by the Oilers. Klinkhammer is 28, limited upside and a UFA at seasons end.
Even with a deep draft that makes a likely late first rounder quite valuable to the Oilers, the Oilers didn’t get enough with one year left on Perron’s contract as he is not a rental winger.
For the Penguins, Perron fits how they want to play with speed, creativity and grittiness. At 26 and already a proven 20 goal scorer, he is just hitting his prime. Perron’s numbers have fallen significantly this season but his linemates have been downgraded as his three most common linemates are Marc Arcobello, Teddy Purcell and Leon Draisaitl. Last season he played with high end skilled players in Sam Gagner, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall.
What scouts don’t like about Perron’s game is his play away from the puck in the defensive zone and gets caught being too much of an East-West player, which could make him a better fit with Evgeni Malkin than Sidney Crosby.
One thing of note — Perron is also an Allan Walsh client who has a great relationship with the Penguins organization and has negotiated a lot of fair deals for his clients with Penguins associate GM Jason Botterill. If Perron plays up to his ability, this could certainly be a long-term fit for him.
Following Pascal Dupuis health situation, the Penguins have sought to add two top-9 forwards. They can now put a checkmark on one of those goals.
The trickle down effect with adding Perron and not moving another regular is it immediately makes the Penguins deeper and gives Mike Johnston a better option to keep Beau Bennett and Brandon Sutter together full-time which he seeks. Assuming of course that Bennett can stay healthy.