Inside the East Division Rumblings, Musings, & Opinions PHI 3-1-1, 7 pts: Coaches around the league feel Kevin Hayes is one of the most underappreciated players in the NHL. 6 even strength points through 5 games, Hayes has been one of the most dominant two-way players to open the season. If the Rangers could go back, there might be a different decision made on whether to sign Chris Kreider long-term over Hayes ……..Intrigue with the Flyers is the upside with the forward group as the season grows, in particular getting full seasons from Nolan Patrick (1 Goal, 3 Assists) and Oskar Lindblom (2 Goals, 1 Assist)…… The Flyers chased Zdeno Chara in free agency. Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher remains in the market for a solidifying piece on the backend…… NYI 3-1-0, 6 pts: Goal Prevention? The Islanders are elite again in that critical area, allowing six goals through four games.Read More »
MUTUAL INTEREST EXPECTED BETWEEN STEELERS, WEDDLE Morgan Burnett out, Eric Weddle in? It will be a situation to watch for the Steelers in free agency. The Steelers plan to release Burnett next month (where’s James Jones going to get his Steelers locker room scoops now?). Weddle, 34, is best friends with Ben Roethlisberger and both players pushed hard for Weddle to join the Steelers in 2016 but the Steelers brass was not willing to make a long-term commitment. This off-season could be different where the Steelers would strongly consider Weddle on a one year deal. There’s no doubt Ben Roethlisberger, whose pull in the organization continues to grow, will be pushing for the team sign Weddle again. Weddle scheduled to make $6.5 million in 2019, is a candidate to be released in Baltimore if he doesn’t agree to a paycut. “I’m not sure if things are going to get workedRead More »
Latest Trade Winds Sabres GM Jason Botterill has signaled to General Managers he is open for business and willing to move pending rentals well before the February 26th deadline. Trade action on winger Evander Kane has heated up significantly in the past week and talks with a couple teams are reaching the serious enough stages where it won’t surprise some NHL execs if Kane is moved by early January. TSN’s Bob Mckenzie reported Tuesday evening the Sharks, Ducks, Blues and “perhaps” the Calgary Flames are amongst the most serious suitors for Kane at this point. Speculation around the league has also linked the NHL-lead Tampa Bay Lightning to Kane, one of the NHL’s best even strength goal scorers among wingers. While Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is notorious for looking into almost every big name on the market and Pittsburgh had some internal discussions on Kane last June, there’s no indicationRead More »
The Pittsburgh Penguins pending trade of Ian Cole further brings into question about the Penguins defensive depth and the quality of defensemen they have on the backend. The organizational depth is extremely thin as is and moving Cole without an impact defenseman coming back the other way puts the microscope even more on Matt Hunwick and Chad Ruhwedel who are truly more of No. 7 type NHL defensemen then No. 5 types they are regarded by the Penguins’ coaching staff. While the Penguins are not locked into that they have to acquire a legitimate top-3 pairing back in any Cole deal, the team has been exploring deals for a defenseman separate from a Cole transaction.
Penguins looking to bolster organizational goaltending depth Are the Penguins content moving forward with Matt Murray, Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith as the 1-3 goaltenders on the organizational depth chart? Penguin coaches saw enough of Casey DeSmith in practice and with Tristan Jarry’s inexperience, the coaching brass is not comfortable with the Penguins goaltending depth in the organization, sources tell Inside Pittsburgh Sports. With difficulties of adding a legitimate No. 2 goaltender at this stage of the season, that has the Penguins in the short-term at least evaluating trades for a netminder on a
Latest Pirates Buzz The Pirates 6-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday night in extra innings was a perfect summary of their season. Pittsburgh has a 3-0 lead entering the seventh inning, yet, they had been playing with fire all night and everything came crashing down in the seventh. Gerrit Cole had six shutout innings going thanks to getting out of two bases loaded jams prior to the seventh. Then Clint Hurdle left his pitcher out to dry. As Cole’s pitch count was over 100, he began to start losing some zip and control on his pitches. Cole had run out of gas and it was clear to anybody that it was time to go to the bullpen. The stubbornness, though, of Hurdle played out and getting out of a third bases loaded situation unscathed wasn’t going to happen as Cole’s 112th pitch would be crushed by Curtis GrandersonRead More »
Latest Pirates Rumors The Pittsburgh Pirates are seven games game of first place in a mediocre NL Central where the Chicago Cubs look like they’re never going to become the Cubs of 2016. With Starling Marte set rejoin the team on July 18, the Pirates have signaled to other clubs that their focus leading up to the July 31 deadline is trying to hang around in 17 but they’re eyeing trades with an eye on 2018. The Pirates are certain that no Chris Sale type offer is out there for Gerrit Cole and the team has pre-determined to keep Gerrit Cole for one more season and see how things go in 18 and be more open to addressing his future at the 18 deadline or the off-season. But, is Neal Huntington bluffing with his stance about keeping Andrew McCutchen in 2018?
Decision Day for Penguins on Expansion Draft The Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday celebrated another Stanley Cup with an estimated 650,000 in attendance for the championship parade and now the work starts to begin for Penguin management. Exit meetings are being conducted today between coaches/management/players and just over 48 hours from the Penguins having to send in their protected expansion draft list, the club has to start looking forward to next year today. The looming decision is whether to go with the 7-3-1 setup for the expansion draft or the 4-4-1 setup? As reported here a weeks ago, the Penguins are one of the few teams that’s given strong consideration to going with the 4-4-1 to protect defensemen Kris Letang, Brian Dumoulin, Olli Maatta and Justin Schultz. “At times the composition of the list gets changed a little bit, but we have a pretty good idea of what we’re doing,” GMRead More »