TEAMS STILL CALLING ABOUT MARTIN
Penguins GM Ray Shero received a number of calls on defenseman Paul Martin around the draft, with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild among the teams expressing the most interest. While the Lightning and Wild are believed to no longer have interest, the Penguins keep getting inquires on the inconsistent defenseman who the Penguins and others seem to feel will rebound in 2012-2013.
The latest team to express preliminary interest is the Detroit Red Wings who actively sought out a top flight defenseman this off-season, missing on the likes of Ryan Suter and Shea Weber.
Martin is viewed by scouts we’ve spoken with as a player who would be best suited in a Mike Babcock type of system that is more structured than the Penguins, which is a likely reason the Red Wings have put a “feeler” out Martin as they explore possible upgrades, NHL sources confirmed.
The Penguins continue to listen on Martin but aren’t that interested in moving Martin as the Penguins have been seeking a top-6 forward in return, if they were to move Martin. The Red Wings though don’t appear to be an enticing trade partner to fill that need.
However, word this summer is that Red Wings have been dangling 32 year olf forward Johan Franzen for a top-4 defenseman but it’s unlikely Pittsburgh would have much interest in Franzen’s contract that carries a $3,954,545 million cap hit through the 2019-2020 season where Franzen would be 40 years old.
The Red Wings had also been dangling breakout forward Valtteri Filppula this summer in trade talks. The 28 year old who can play center or winger had 66 points last season and is a free agent next summer.
The best trade opportunity for Pittsburgh this summer that interested them would have been a package centering around Martin going to Minnesota in exchange for Devin Setoguchi that was believed to have been briefly discussed at one point. The problem now is that Minnesota has no interest in adding more salary after the additions of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Minnesota has nearly $69 million committed to salaries for 2012-2013 and expectations are the salary cap will come down under a new CBA.
Moving Martin at this point even for a top-6 forward could be a mistake as the Penguins are somewhat unproven on the backend with the likes Simon Despres, Brian Strait and Robert Bortuzzo pushing for regular duty.