Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has a knack of staying in the mix for a trade target until the end and that continued in the Matt Duchene trade talks.

Last year prior to the deadline, Pittsburgh made late runs at Martin Hanzal/Kevin Shatterkirk (were finalists for both) and Pittsburgh’s off and on trade discussions with the Avalanche on Matt Duchene saw Pittsburgh make another late run at a big name.

As the Avalanche re-engaged the Penguins in trade talks last month, once word circulated around the league that a three-team deal on Friday between the Avs/Predators/Senators was dead (false alarm), Pittsburgh made a hard push to land Duchene over the weekend, league sources confirm.

Trade discussions remained active between the Penguins and Avalanche as late as Saturday night.

While Pittsburgh’s offer didn’t match the quantity the Avalanche received in the three-team deal, whispers around the league is Pittsburgh offered a strong package of NHL talent.

League sources say top To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!

Rumblings: Management wants coaching staff to lighten workload for Letang

Kris Letang is a mess right now, a league-worst minus-16 and while plus/minus is often a bad stat, Letang’s rating has been reflective of what the eye test says.

He’s in one of those bad stretches that have followed Letang in his career where everything is mental for him.

Letang’s positioning and reads have been extremely poor and the self inflicted wounds from Letang played a big part in Pittsburgh’s 4-2 loss to the Canucks where Letang was on the ice for all four goals against.

Coming off the injury he had, there’s a belief in the organization outside of the coaching staff that To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!