The trade deadline is inching closer (Feb 27) and the Penguins are working the phones with signs pointing to GM Ray Shero possibly looking to make his hockey club a tougher team to play against upfront, sources say.
Concerns surrounding Arron Asham’s second concussion in less than a year is said to be playing a mild part in the Penguins thinking process.
With the trade deadline 27 days away, league sources say the Penguins are currently exploring the market for depth players more so than a top-6 forward at this point. The top-6 market though has yet to really develop and GM Ray Shero will surely explore his options at somepoint on that front.
For now though, one player emerging of serious interest to the Penguins is Montreal Canadiens winger Travis Moen. Moen, 29, has 9 goals and 16 points on the season and is third on the Habs with 73 hits.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound forward provides that the type of grit and toughness that the Penguins lost with Mike Rupp and is a better 5-on-5 player than Rupp. Moen is the type of player like Rupp that scouts feel “you win championships with”. He won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007 and is regarded as a great locker room guy. Moen though can play in a lot of different roles, averaging 15:40 of ice time and ranks 2nd on the Canadiens among forwards with 2:24 of ice time per gameÂ on the penalty kill.
Moen is carrying a $1.5 million cap hit. Including Pittsburgh, Vancouver and Detroit are among teams believed to have strong interest at this stage.
— Another intriguing depth option who could emerge as a potential target for the Penguins in the coming weeks is Buffalo’s Paul Gaustad. Gaustad, 29, is having a down year with 5 goals and 13 points in 44 games this season for the disappointing Sabres. Gaustad though is expected to become highly sought after by Cup contenders if he becomes available. Buffalo is exploring an extension for Gaustad who is scheduled to be a free agent at seasons end. Gaustad carries a $2.3 million cap hit.
Like Moen, he would add size and toughness for the Penguins, filling a particular need. The biggest complaint from scouts is that the Penguins have too many of the “same” player on their 3rd and 4th lines. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound centerman has 85 hits on the season and is 55.7% in the faceoff circle.
— One name to pop up on the Pens rumor mill of late is Tampa Bay’s Dominic Moore.
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com is the latest linking Moore to Pittsburgh, if he becomes available.
Lebrun writes, “Center Dominic Moore would be a sought-after commodity at the trade deadline given his playoff performances the past two years for Montreal and Tampa.
However, Mooreâs agent Larry Kelly told ESPN.com on Tuesday that there have been contract discussions with Tampa regarding an extension.
“Yes, we have had discussions, so weâll see what happens,” Kelly said.
Slated for unrestricted free agency July 1, Moore likely would be in play closer to the Feb. 27 trade deadline if the Lightning are unable to get back into the playoff race.
Pittsburgh is among the teams believed to have interest in Moore. ” Lebrun wrote.
The Penguins are said to be high on Moore and his ability to fit into Dan Bylsma’s system. However, when at full strength, Pittsburgh has enough “Moore” type 4th line centers in Richard Park, Joe Vitale, and Dustin Jeffrey.
Moore, 31, is in the final year of his deal, carrying a $1.1 million cap hit. He has 4 goals and 18 pts on the season.