TIOPS DAILY FIVE
*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*
1. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford told Dave Molinari
of the Post-Gazette over the weekend that the Penguins are pursuing a first round pick.
“I’ll certainly pursue it,” Rutherford told the PG.
Rutherford has checked in with teams that have multiple first round picks. Teams with multiple picks include the Coyotes, Sabres, Maple Leafs, Flyers and Jets.
“There are some teams that have acquired an abundance of first round picks and they may not need them all,” Rutherford said. I’ve actually talked to a couple of those teams already.”
Rutherford then adds…..“I don’t know if we’ll be able to pick up one or not.”
Rutherford talks so much, he’s great for the two local papers in putting material out there but a lot of what he says is just wishful talking and blabber. The Penguins having a realistic shot at getting back in the first round is much easier said than done.
The Penguins don’t pick until the second round, 46th overall, and then don’t pick again until the fifth round, 137th overall. Or course they would love to get a first round pick in a deep draft but the reality is the Penguins don’t have much of a shot of getting back into round 1.
2. Here’s Why: What’s problematic for the Penguins is they have few tradeable assets who could nab them a first round pick. The big time trade chips, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Marc Andre Fleury, Olli Maatta, Derrick Pouliot are off limits.
THE LONG SHOT MAYBE GROUP OF HAVING A PERCEIVED FIRST ROUND TRADE VALUE
Brandon Sutter — A year away from unrestricted free agency, the Penguins in a win-at-all cost mode every season, have let too many players who aren’t a necessity to leave via free agency instead of getting something for them. The Penguins need to make a decision on Sutter this summer, to commit to him or trade him coming off a 21 goal season.
Jim Rutherford was against trading established players for futures (draft picks, prospects) in year one as GM and with Rutherford believing the Penguins are a Stanley Cup team, it’s hard to see him swaying that way, meaning trading Sutter for a first round pick is unlikely but he tops the maybe group as potentially being a TRADE asset in the Penguins getting back into round 1 if the right team (playoff team most likely) is a fit.
Winnipeg offering their late first round pick (25th overall) for Sutter makes some sense from their end and Jets head coach Paul Maurice has a history with Sutter.
Outside of Sutter, the available trade assets on the roster are slim pickings when it comes to projected trade value:
THE GROUP THE PENGUINS WISHED COULD BE MOVED FOR A FIRST ROUND PICK
Chris Kunitz — A year ago the Penguins could have certainly had somebody jump on acquiring Kunitz for a first round pick. Won’t be the case this summer. — No First round pick trade value
Rob Scuderi — Skip
Beau Bennett — His trade value is as low as it gets right now. Brett Connolly the 6th overall pick in 2010, a higher pedigree player, was traded for two second picks at the trade deadline. Bennett has no first round value.
TOP PROSPECTS PENGUINS ARE WILLING TO MOVE TO UPGRADE ROSTER (RIGHT DEAL) BUT NOT IDEAL TO MOVE FOR A HIGH PICK
Scott Harrington — Highly regarded around the league, NHL sources say the Penguins have him in play to upgrade the roster. The Toronto Maple Leafs with Mark Hunter now a prominent decision maker in the organization coveted Harrington in trade talks prior to the trade deadline when the Penguins had talks with Leafs about Cody Franson and Joffrey Lupul at different times. The Leafs willing to move the 24th overall pick for Harrington is a possibility but it’s not ideal from the Penguins end to move NHL ready prospects for draft picks.
Matthew Murray — Flashed star potential in his first professional season and has all the tools to potentially evolve into a franchise goaltender within the next season or two. Some teams love him. The Penguins should smartly be against trading Murray.
Brian Dumoulin — Same as Harrington. Might be a team that would be willing to move a late first rounder for him but from the Penguins end it’s not ideal to pursue that route.
3. The New York Rangers continue to prove how important mental toughness is to win in the post-season. Once again the Rangers avoided elimination with a monster game from Derrick Brassard
(3 goals, 2 assists) to force a Game 7 and for the second straight series, the Rangers have looked liked the inferior team at times but again this team just knows how to win and lot of it comes back to mental toughness, something the Penguins haven’t had for years. As for the Lightning, win or lose Game 7, this is a team that’s arrived and is going to be scary good for the next several seasons.
4. Everything has come together for the Pirates during their five game winning streak. The bats are alive, the team is getting timely hits and the starting pitching has been down right dominant, outscoring their opponents 30-7 during the streak.
Is it a sign of things to come for the Pirates?
5. Steelers coaches hope is for Jarvis Jones to make them not have to play James Harrison
60 snaps a game this season and keep Harrison’s snap count around 25. Harrison has opened OTA’s running with the 2’s and as expected he’s not ready to embrace a backup role and why should he.
“Initially, when I came of retirement last year, I was supposed to be a 15 to 20 snap guy, and things rolled out a different way,” Harrison said.
“We’ll get into the season and see how things roll out,”