Penguins – Blue Jackets Fallout

The most important takeaway out of the Penguins 2-1 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets is an obvious one.

Pittsburgh and Columbus have elite starting goaltenders in Matt Murray and Sergei Bobrovsky. Those two going head-to-head would be fun in April.

Nothing else should be taken out of last night’s game that gives a glimpse of what to expect in a seven game series if these two clubs are indeed on a collision course to a first round matchup, and let’s hope they are because Rangers – Penguins is getting quite boring.

Pittsburgh missing two top-9 forwards, in addition to Justin Schultz and Olli Maatta, this was a well earned point, coming off a physical game the night before.

Shots were 39-39 with Pittsburgh having a 61-60 edge in 5 v 5 shot attempts.

Columbus poses a potential challenge to the Penguins and how much they get up for the Penguins is something that can’t be taken for granted, especially if they got home ice, but one clear edge in the Penguins favor with how these two rosters are currently constructed is Pittsburgh’s center depth over a seven game series.

Brandon Dubinsky had a very strong game, overtime winner, and his line drove possession, on the ice for 27 shot attempts, 17 against, but they need another top-9 center before the deadline, and don’t have the type of depth at center that could overwhelm the Penguins over seven games. Dubinsky, others would fizzle out.

A second edge for the Penguins is Matt Murray’s ability to go toe-to-toe with Bobrovsky and the fact that Murray has proven he can win in the post-season, Bobrovsky hasn’t.

Matt Murray does not get embraced enough in this town in how he’s one of the biggest reasons the Penguins Cup window reopened last spring (just ask the Washington Capitals who felt they lost to Pittsburgh because of Murray) and is so wide open for the next three to four years with this current core.

The Penguins have lucked into upgrading their starting goaltender position through the draft with a third round pick who no one saw being this good and without having to go out and spend $6 million per season on a goaltender, at least for the next three years.


The Pittsburgh Penguins [hide] scouted a Colorado Avalanche game for the third straight game on Friday night. Pittsburgh was in attendance for Avalanche – Hurricanes in Raleigh. The Penguins do play the Hurricanes on Tuesday night but was told this wasn’t a scheduled scouting trip to provide a detailed report for Tuesday’s game in Carolina.

Carolina 3-6-1 in their last 10 games, have fallen seven points out of a playoff spot and are expected to sell some of their rentals.

Clubs are starting to look at defenseman Ron Hainsey as a No. 6/No. 7 type target and the Maatta injury has the Penguins expanding their search for a depth defenseman, a source says.

The 35 year old was signed by Jim Rutherford in 2013, so there is a history there. Hainsey’s in the last year of his contract with a $2.8 million. Won’t be surprised if the Penguins plan to monitor his play over the next week but unclear right now if there’s interest from the Penguins end.


Less talk about the Dallas Stars and Fleury this week and with them floundering, some NHL execs are questioning why go after Fleury now unless you really love him as your long-term fix. The thinking is Dallas should take things to the summer and regroup there.

The scuttlebutt around the league over the last 48 hours is the Calgary Flames are circling the goaltender market once again. Not all in but giving some thought to adding an upgrade, even a goaltender with term, and pursuing Fleury is not being ruled out, NHL sources say.

There was a discussion between the Flames and Penguins when the Flames were in town and the Penguins believe the Flames could circle back before March 1. Something to keep an eye on in the next 10 days.

Pittsburgh and Calgary had very brief talks about Fleury last June but talks were never substantive and overblown by some media outlets, Penguin sources have said. Contact over the last 10 days is the first since last June.

Calgary netminders Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson are free agents at seasons end. This would be a much easier trade for the Penguins to make than with Dallas.

Prior to acquiring Brian Elliott at the draft, Calgary also had a potential trade in place for Ben Bishop but Calgary pulled out when the two sides couldn’t agree on an extension. Bishop was seeking a seven year, $42 million contract from the Flames.

Roster Notes

— The Penguins have re-assigned forward Josh Archibald –[/hide]