The Pittsburgh Penguins intend to use every avenue they can on the trade market to upgrade their top-6 and while they’re on the hunt for another Patric Hornqvist type player, many like him aren’t out there.
The Blackhawks plan to move Patrick Sharp, Bryan Bickell to clear cap space and Kris Versteeg might also be in that group.
Penguin scouts are high on Bickell and he fits the mold of a Hornqvist type who is hard to play against but at what cost will determine how aggressively they pursue him. He has two years left on his deal with a $4 million cap hit and is 29 years old.
The Penguins had interest in Kris Versteeg a few years back but he’s nothing more than a poor mans David Perron. Versteeg, though, does have a cap hit of just $2.2 million with one year left on his deal. Possible he stays put and the cost to get him wouldn’t be significant but he does little to point the arrow up for the Penguins top-6.
The most interesting name is Patrick Sharp and he’s such a tough player to evaluate right now.
The cons, 33 years old turns 34 in December and has two years left on his deal with a cap hit of $5.9 million. Sharp had an up and down season with 16 goals in 68 games and has been inconsistent in the post-season.
However in Game 4, he was bumped up to the top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa and you saw what type of impact he can still have and how he still meshes well with elite linemates. Sharp can still get around well, has an excellent shot and has great instincts to play with skilled players.
Sharp’s play in the playoffs has been concerning but you can bet some GM’s who watched him tonight playing with Toews, Hossa and thought to themselves that’s the type of player they need in their top-6.
Don’t be surprised if Jim Rutherford is one of them who looked into Sharp briefly in early February. One key element Sharp fits that the Penguins desperately need is Sharp can create his own shot. The Penguins could likely get two quality years out of Sharp but if the asking price goes to a first round pick and another asset, which is believed to be the Blackhawks seek, I don’t believe the Penguins are in the position to take that gamble with a player nearing 35.