Latest Pens Buzz

Jim Rutherford at his end of the season press conference touted the Penguins blueline as the best group he’s during his tenure as General Manager.

It was laughed at by many and for good reason.

“I think our defense is the best now that it’s been since I’ve been here as a group,” Rutherford said on April 18th. “You always like mobile defensemen and guys that can move the puck. We have one on each pairing, and now we have enough push back.”

Actions, though, speak louder than words and Rutherford has been vigorously attempting to revamp his defensive group in trade talks ahead of the draft and free agency.

None bigger right now than an aggressive pursuit of [hide] Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba, a pending RFA.

The Penguins have indeed emerged as a surprise suitor for Trouba in league circles, showing a strong willingness to meet the Jets asking price of a 3-for-1 package built around two impact NHL players + a high pick going to Winnipeg in return for the No. 1 right-handed defenseman.

As some teams have taken a step back in showing interest in meeting the Jets asking price due to concerns of signing Trouba long-term, Pittsburgh is willing to take a one year gamble on Trouba without any verbal commitment from Trouba, sources say. NHL executives have for months been under the assumption until told otherwise that Trouba wants to sign with the New York Rangers next summer.

The Penguins internally believe they are overmatched with the likes of the Rangers, Flyers, Panthers and Red Wings if the Jets eventually decide to go the heavy prospects/draft pick route, but the Penguins feel they’re in the ball game when it comes to putting trade packages together built around the Jets getting immediate help back. There’s been enough positive discussions between the two sides where the Penguins feel they have a shot to pull this off.

Trouba, 25, was the 9th overall pick in the 2012 draft, taken one spot after Derick Pouliot. He had 8 goals and 42 assists in 2018-2019, carrying a $5.5 million cap hit.

He is arbitration eligible this summer and scheduled to be a UFA next summer.[/hide]