LATEST PENGUINS BUZZ
Penguin management has gone back and forth over the last couple weeks on whether the biggest need is a defenseman or a top-9 forward. Limited cap space has the Penguins unlikely to be able to add both.
Last week the buzz in league circles is the Penguins were looking for a top-4 defenseman over a forward and were in the mix for Cody Franson, who was traded to Nashville on Sunday.
The team is very high on Edmonton’s Jeff Petry and have had advanced talks with the Oilers and New Jersey’s Marek Zidlicky to a lesser degree, sources confirm.
However, what the Penguins want seems to change by the day and GM Jim Rutherford tells Jason Mackey of the Tribune-Review that adding a forward now appears to be the top priority.
“We kind of go back and forth on what’s our priority,” Rutherford told the Tribune-Review. “Is it a defenseman? Is it a forward? Do we just go with the group we have? The prices are going to be high for these guys. We’re going to keep looking at it. I do think that based on our performance against these division teams, I do think if we added another forward it would give us a better chance.”
- The Penguins have won just twice in 11 combined games against the Islanders, Capitals and Rangers this season and things are setting up where the Penguins will have to get through two of the three division rivals, all who look like bad matchups for the Penguins, to just reach the Eastern Conference Finals.
- In the Penguins last eight games against current Eastern Conference playoff teams, the Penguins have scored three goals or less in seven of the eight games.
- Star center Sidney Crosby has been held pointless 23 times this season and has been limited to just 7 points in 11 combined games this season vs Islanders, Capitals and Rangers.
WHO ARE THE PENGUINS TARGETING?
At the forward position, the Penguins have their eye on a group of four trade targets they are monitoring, sources confirm, all versatile forwards who the Penguins feel can play on the third or second line when needed. The particular group the Penguins are looking at are mostly pending UFA’s but players the Penguins feel are signable this summer and potential fits for the next couple seasons.
Toronto’s Daniel Winnik, Carolina’s Jiri Tlusty top the Penguins wishlist, while Columbus winger Cam Atkinson, RFA, Vancouver’s Zach Kassian and Calgary’s Curtis Glencross are among players the Penguins have looked into at various times this season. A few names to watch leading up to March 2nd.
For now team officials continue to downplay a run at Jaromir Jagr.