Latest Penguins Buzz

Erik Gudbranson re-entered the lineup Sunday night in the Penguins 7-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets but is the writing on the wall that Gudbranson is getting a ticket out of town?

Gudbranson hitting the trade block became news early last week but league sources say the Penguins started surveying the market for Gudbranson a few days prior to opening night and before Pittsburgh was ravished by injuries upfront.

The trade winds have become a shock to Gudbranson and his camp as exit meetings last spring with coaches and GM Jim Rutherford had Gudbranson feeling quite secure about his role in Pittsburgh moving forward.

What changed so quickly?

John Marino for one.

The jury is still out on whether the Penguins are greatly overvaluing Marino and trying to believe he’s something he’s not, but the front office is quite sold on Marino already in the short-term and future. And they’ve been sold on Marino before he even made his NHL debut last week as there’s even a small faction in the organization who feel Marino has all the tools to be a long-term replacement for [hide] Justin Schultz if the team opts against resigning Schultz.

But, there’s other factors at play why Gudbranson is being aggressively shopped right now.

1. Early returns are there is a soft market
2. The coaches feel Jack Johnson is a far superior player on the penalty kill
3. Playing two righties on the third pair is something the coaches are strongly against long-term, multiple sources say.

Industry Buzz is one team Pittsburgh has had active trade talks with over the last little while is the Anaheim Ducks once again. The two sides talked a Jack Johnson trade in July where Johnson’s reps at CAA Sports are said to have felt at one point a deal was going to happen with the Penguins including quite the sweetener, but the deal broke down and the Ducks have been hunting for a right-handed D.

They’ve circled around on Gudbranson with the Penguins gauging a return of winger Nick Ritchie, who has long been a favorite of Jim Rutherford’s, league sources say.

We’ll see where it goes.


— The tear-down of winger Dominik Kahun inside the organization has been something else and it started before Kahun ever dressed in a regular season game with the Penguins. Watching Kahun in practice every day in camp, doubts started emerging from decision makers and the Penguins are even more alarmed six games in.

“For f*** sakes did our scouts miss on him [Dominik Kahun],” a Penguins source said of Kahun last week.

— Sam Lafferty has been quite the story with 3 goals and 2 assists in four games and everything he touched in Pittsburgh dominant weekend wins against the Wild and Jets turned to gold. What jumped out to the Penguins in evaluating Lafferty as a prospect last year where he made a huge surprise jump on the organizational depth chart in less than one year was Lafferty standing out immediately with an NHL-level shot to go with a high hockey IQ and what impressed coaches in WBS is how he uses his length really well.

We’ve seen those three attributes play out thus far in five NHL games. [/hide]