NHL RUMOR MONDAY
Trade talks are starting to very slowly pick up among GM’s with around 20% of the season already gone and two established players Devin Setoguchi, Minnesota Wild, and Jordan Leopold, Buffalo Sabres, are among the notable players being shopped around the league for other needs, NHL sources say.
Will the Penguins bite on either player? That remains to be seen but Setoguchi and Leopold have both been players of interest to the Penguins.
On the blueline, Leopold was among a shortlist of defensemen the Penguins had discussed prior to the season of possible trade targets,but the sense around the league is GM Ray Shero’s intentions have been to give his group 15 to 20 games before actively looking into any outside moves on the blueline.
Leopold who had a strong season in 2011-2012, has been “atrocious” this year, according to one scout I spoke with who has seen him play twice in the past 10 days. Management to this point has been pleased with the play of the Penguins blueline. The Sabres are said to be looking for young NHL ready players in return for the pending free agent. A market will start developing for Leopold.
Meanwhile, The Wild have made it known around the league they are willing to move Setoguchi whose value is low after a down year in 2011-2012 and off to another slow start with no goals and just 2 assists in eight games played. Setoguchi has fired just 10 shots on goal. Many feel he needs a change of scenery.
The Penguins like him, but don’t love him. However, if they wanted to make a deal now, the Wild and Penguins could likely be a match, sources say, although Penguin sources strongly refute the team would consider moving Simon Despres in a deal for Setoguchi.
Unless the market for Setoguchi improves in the next four to six weeks, there’s talk Minnesota could bite on a package centered around Tyler Kennedy and another young piece going to Minnesota.
Former Penguins assistant GM Chuck Fletcher knows the Penguins system well but to this point the Penguins have been mostly on the sidelines in regards to Setoguchi. As of Saturday, there was said to not be any serious talks between the two sides.
While Penguin scouts have their eye on finding the next James Neal type of winger, there’s not many out there, and the Penguins feel this could be a very strong rental winger group come March. That has the Penguins wanting to be smart with the cap space they have. I’m not sure they are sold on Setoguchi being the answer for them but there’s definitely some interest from their end.