Trade Talks focused on Columbus, Dallas; Latest on Toronto
The Pittsburgh Penguins have been actively working the phones over the past 72 hours with scouting trips recently focused on the Dallas Stars and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
On Tuesday, head professional scout Derek Clancey was scouting the Blue Jackets with a focus believed to be on winger Raffi Torres and tonight director of player personnel Dan Mackinnon was among two members of the Penguins hockey operations staff attending the Blue Jackets/Stars game, per a Blue Jackets source.
Mackinnon who is a prominent member of the Penguins scouting staff, doesn’t scout games anymore, unless the Penguins have an eye on a particular target or targets.
Meanwhile, Clancey has been a regular in Toronto of late, while Tom Fitzgerald made a rare West Coast scouting trip last weekend, scouting Phoenix and Dallas on back-to-back nights.
Scout Kevin Stevens works out of Boston, scouting all Bruins games.
Trade Specifics being discussed

***Talks with the Columbus have intensified of late as the Penguins have held extensive scouting meetings on winger Raffi Torres who the organization does see as a potential fit on the second line.
Pittsburgh I’m told would be willing to offer a 4th round pick that could possibily become a 3rd round pick and prospect Carl Sneep has also been a regular in discussions.
Pittsburgh would also like to send a salary the other way.
Pittsburgh has made it known that a offering the 2nd round pick that the Blue Jackets covet is not a option. Therefore, talks with Columbus have focused on a mid-round pick and a prospect.
Other teams currently involved are the Washington Capitals, Vancouver Canucks and Phoenix Coyotes.
A Blue Jackets source told me, he expects Columbus to hold onto Torres until after the Olympic break, but talks with Pittsburgh and others have intensified in the past 48 hours.
Talks regarding R.J. Umberger have yet to materialized.
***Meanwhile, Dallas continues to be an intriguing trade partner for the Penguins. As I reported yesterday, there have been some names involved.
Just being described as preliminary right now.
The Stars love Letang but are more focused on Goligoski at this point. He’s a more reasonable target from their standpoint.
Pittsburgh would demand James Neal in any deal for Letang, while I’m told Dallas would want another significant piece going the other way to part with the young power forward who is also a restricted free agent.
This is just speculation on my part, but based on what I’ve been able to gather, to get the Stars attention on Neal, an asset like a Luca Caputi would also need to be involved.
****Nothing really burning on the Alexei Ponikarovski front. A few names were discussed last week and I’m sure Ray Shero and Brian Burke have held a number of discussions due to being involved wth Team USA but doesn’t appear there’s anything close on that front.
Both sides know what each side wants.
more to come in the morning