PENGUINS MONITORING D-MAN MARKET
The Penguins continue to poke around on available defensemen in the wake of today’s 3:00 p.m. deadline. What type of defenseman are the Penguins looking for? Ideally they would really like to add a player who can improve the transition game with Kris Letang out but the problem is few of those guys are out there or available. The team looked into a hockey trade with the Florida Panthers for young defenseman Dmitri Kulikov but there was no traction.
Rob Rossi of the Tribune-Review reports New Jersey’s Marek Zidlicky is on the Penguins radar but the sense is that New Jersey just two points out of the playoffs is likely to hold on to Zidlicky who is playing very well of late.
Therefore, if the Penguins strike out on adding a puck mover, Pittsburgh hasn’t ruled out adding some size and a defensive minded defenseman whether it’s a top-6 defenseman or just another body such as a waiver pickup like Corey Potter who the Penguins really liked when he played for the organization in 2010-2011 and tried to resign him that summer. One source says the Penguins are “open to anything”, and that includes a “hockey trade” for the Penguins.
SOME NAMES TO WATCH
Mark Stuart, Winnipeg Jets: Pittsburgh is very high on the tough, physical blueliner but no one around the NHL thinks Stuart is in play. The Jets are in talks on an extension.
Ron Hainsey, Carolina Hurricanes: Head pro scout Don Waddell was designated for a scouting trip to Carolina last week. Hainsey was signed to a big contract by Waddell in the summer of 2008 and he knows him well. The Penguins had some interest in Hainsey last deadline and Waddell is said to remain high on Hainsey. He adds size at 6-3, 215lbs, and would help the Penguins in their own end. Hainsey has a $2 million cap hit. One thing that could deter a run at Hainsey. There was talk last year that Hainsey and Crosby butted heads during the lockout process.
Chris Butler, Calgary Flames: Pending UFA with a $1.7 million cap hit, Butler is a name getting a lot of praise from scouts in regards to a potential depth pickup for contending teams. Butler is one of the NHL’s best shot blockers with 159 blocked shots and has good size at 6-1, 200lbs, and skates very well.
Philadelphia’s Andrej Meszaros, Henrik Tallinder, Edmonton’s Nick Schultz, are among the rental defensemen in play. Florida’s Tom Gilbert makes some sense for Pens
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