PENGUINS MORNING BUZZ TOP-5
1. From the emails I’ve been getting, I get the sense that a few fans out there are fretting the return (likely this week) of Evgeni Malkin in regards to the Penguins potentially losing the defensive mindset they have in them right now where they are putting a focus on doing the little things in their own end. Those frets might be because of when Sidney Crosby returned last March, the Penguins suddenly forget to play defense.
2. Long winning streaks don’t lead to success in the playoffs and Penguin management knows this. The past three seasons the Penguins have now had winning streaks of 12 (2010-2011), 11 (2011-2012) and now 10 and possibly counting. The Penguins trade deadline plans are not being altered as GM Ray Shero is always looking to add but if the Penguins get shutout at the deadline, it’s going to be because of a lack of available players and high asking prices, similar to last season.
3. If the Penguins add to their blueline it won’t be a No. 6/No. 7 type depth guy. A high ranking source says the team has their eye on 1 or 2 left handed top-4 defensemen who could become available.
The name I heard yesterday for the first time was Winnipeg Jets 6-foot-3, 212-pound defenseman Ron Hainsey. I was told the Penguins have him targeted and the connection is there as top professional scout Don Waddell (Former Thrashers GM) signed Hainsey to a 5 year, $22.5 million contract on July 2, 2008. Hainsey played three seasons in Atlanta with Waddell as GM/President so there’s that connection. Whether Hainsey becomes available remains to be seen as the Jets are surging and lead the Southeast with 34 points. Hainsey leads the Jets with 75 blocked shots and is a free agent at seasons end. Because of his lack of puck moving ability, I hear the Penguins might be lukewarm on Edmonton’s Ladislav Smid. Buffalo’s Robyn Regehr is expected to be coveted by multiple teams.
4. Despite others wondering where Jarome Iginla would fit in the lineup, all indications are the Penguins intend to still make a play for Jarome Iginla were he to become available. The price, though, will have to be right. “When you can add a Jarome Iginla, you add him,” one source said.
5. There’s some chatter going around that Robert Bortuzzo gets moved between now and April 3rd trade deadline. When discussing dressing seven defenseman being a part of the regular decision making, I found it interesting that Bylsma never mentioned Bortuzzo (when talking about dressing seven defensemen) who has now been scratched for 10 straight games.