TIOPS DAILY FIVE
*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*
1. Chris Kunitz future with the Penguins this summer is hinging on whether the Penguins make a specific move they are exploring for a top-6 winger, Inside Pittsburgh Sports has learned. A source close to the situation in simplest terms says the Penguins are not planning to move Kunitz just for the sake of moving him but have explored scenarios to create a roster spot or cap room, were the Penguins to swing a deal for one scenario they’re exploring right now.
That leads to this:
2. Is that scenario Patrick Sharp who they’ve looked into…..T.J. Oshie………Phil Kessel? While the Penguins internally are downplaying it, talk is rampant in league circles, I mean rampant over the last couple hours that Jim Rutherford is swinging for the fences in aggressively pursuing a deal for Kessel. “Jim looking to hit a home run,” one executive said.
If Rutherford were to try to pull this off for Kessel, it goes with the increasing talk of the Penguins moving Brandon Sutter in a separate deal and Chris Kunitz being shopped for a prospect, preferably a defenseman to replenish the system, to create roster flexibility and cap space, though, Mike Babcock is said to love Kunitz so you never know.
Will stress a lot of this chatter is coming outside of Pittsburgh but all indications are Rutherford has done more than just kick the tires on Kessel. Going to be an interesting weekend but the Leafs are in no rush to move Kessel but would like to.
3. The Penguins made a two year offer to Blake Comeau that was rejected on Tuesday as Comeau and his agent Kurt Overhardt decided they wanted to speak to other teams, UFA window to speak with teams began today. The door, though, is still open to get something done before July 1 but the Comeau camp is checking around first. Hear Penguins offer was worth $1 million per season.
4. The goalie market is so strong with available goaltenders that Penguin officials believe Thomas Greiss may circle back to them after July 1. They are not committed to going with Jeff Zatkoff and are interested in retaining Greiss at the right price.
5. Gregory Polanco’s regression is starting to become a hot discussion with Indy talk emerging. The Pirates should gamble on re-acquiring Marlon Byrd that he has something left in the tank for a second half run. The Pirates looked into re-acquiring Byrd last July when he was with the Phillies.