Archive for Pittsburgh Penguins

GM Rutherford: “Changes Need to be Made” in Pittsburgh

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford spoke about his club’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the play-in round.

Rutherford stated he plans to move forward with the club’s current core, figuring to include at least Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Jake Guentzel. It seems unlikely the Penguins would move on from Jason Zucker, who fit in well after the trade deadline move from Minnesota and is signed through 2022-23 at a reasonable cap hit of $5.5 million.

It’s probable the Penguins will move one of Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry, both of whom are RFAs, this summer. Murray seems more likely, but the trade market as well as each goalie’s contract demands will play a factor.

The Penguins likely won’t bring back UFA defenseman Justin Schultz. They will likely continue to try to get out from the three seasons remaining on Jack Johnson’s contract at a cap-hit of $3.25 million, but that would have to be through a buy-out or taking on another burdensome contract.

The Penguins have the 15th pick in the 2020 Entry Draft. They have the option of moving this year’s pick or their 2021 first to Minnesota to complete the Jason Zucker trade and smart money is on them keeping the 2020 pick.

31 Thoughts: Athanasiou, Granlund, Goaltenders

In the newest edition of 31 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman wonders about a number of players and what might happen with them following the conclusion of the playoffs:

- He wonders about Andreas Athanasiou, now with the Oilers, as he approaches restricted free agency with arbitration rights. As the Oilers cap situation is tight, they need to make a decision on if they could fit in Athanasiou’s potential arbitration award. Should they decide they can’t, they could try to trade him or simply not extend him a qualifying offer, making him a UFA.
- Friedman also questions whether it might be Semyon Varlamov or Thomas Greiss who works alongside rookie Ilya Sorokin in the Islanders’ crease next season. Greiss is a pending UFA, and Varlamov is signed for 3 more seasons at a cap-hit of $5 million. Given the Islanders’ cap position, he wonders if they might offer Greiss a more affordable deal in hopes of moving Varlamov’s contract out–which I would suggest would be difficult in the today’s cap environment.
- He also wonders about Mikael Granlund as he approaches unrestricted free agency. Granlund was having a quiet season for the Predators before exploding for 7 goals in 14 games in February. His value on the free agent market might be set by his play in the upcoming play-in and play-offs.
- He wonders about retirement for Wild captain Mikko Koivu. Koivu opted to use his no-trade clause is order to stay with the Wild at the trade deadline, despite interest around the league.
- Friedman hints that pending UFAs Evgenii Dadonov and Mike Hoffman might be casualties as the Panthers make an effort to trim payroll. Hoffman is a big part of Florida’s powerplay attack.
- Friedman quotes Penguins GM Jim Rutherford about how one of Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry doesn’t necessarily need to be the one moved in Pittsburgh. I’ll still bet on Murray being moved.
- He wonders if strong performances from David Rittich and/or Cam Talbot might convince the Flames to stay the course in net rather than a bold move to bring in a goalie from outside.

Pittsburgh Acquires Jason Zucker

The Pittsburgh Penguins have finally acquired winger Jason Zucker from Minnesota:

The Penguins nearly acquired Zucker last summer, but the agreed upon traded was voided when Phil Kessel refused to waive his no-trade clause to go to Minnesota. Pittsburgh eventually traded Kessel to Arizona for a package including Alex Galchenyuk, who never found his role in Pittsburgh. Galchenyuk goes to Minnesota today. Depending on how the Wild play in the upcoming weeks, Galchenyuk may find his way back on the trade market.

Zucker, 28, is signed through 2022-23 at a cap-hit of $5.5 million. Being one of the few impact forwards with term on his contract on the trade market, the price for Zucker is high. As well as Galchenyuk, the Penguins give up their first in a strong draft year and a blue-chip right-handed defense prospect in Addison.

Penguins Extend Marcus Petterson

The Penguins announce they have signed defenseman Marcus Petterson to a five-year extension.

Petterson would have been UFA eligible for the final two years of the deal.

The 23-year old defenseman has been a success story for the Penguins since coming over last season from Anaheim in a trade for Daniel Sprong.

Friedman: Penguins Pursuing Jason Zucker

According to Elliotte Friedman in his 31 Thoughts Blog, the Pittsburgh Penguins continue to pursue Jason Zucker, but with Minnesota sitting 7 points back of the final wildcard spot with 3 games in hand, the Wild aren’t ready to start shipping out roster players.

Zucker, 28, has 13 goals and 14 assists in 39 games for the Wild this season. He is signed through 2022-23 at a cap hit of $5.5 million.

Minnesota had previously agreed to trade Zucker to the Penguins last summer as part of a Phil Kessel trade, but Kessel exercised his no-trade protection to stop the trade. The Wild also nearly traded Zucker to the Flames at last season’s trade deadline, but the deal fell through due to a “timing issue”.

Pens GM Confirms Malkin Staying Put

Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford put an end to the recent rumors that the team was considering dealing superstar center Evgeni Malkin.

Rutherford went on to say that both sides were happy and Malkin’s goal is to win in Pittsburgh. Instead the team will focus on adding quality wingers to complete their offense with the hope of returning to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Penguins were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs with a 4-1
series loss to the New York Rangers.

Could Sharks Target Malkin?

Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area discusses the possibility of the Sharks attempting to acquire Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

During a recent press conference, Sharks owner Hasso Plattner stated the team could not buy the Stanley Cup, and mentioned Malkin as someone they couldn’t just go out and spend to acquire. These comments along with Malkin’s supposed unhappiness in Pittsburgh have fueled trade speculation.

Most likely there is very little validity to the speculation, but Malkin’s name may remain linked to the Sharks considering both Pittsburgh and San Jose are in need of changes and the Sharks are one of the few teams in the league that could accommodate the Russian superstar’s hefty contract .


Penguins Acquire Ian Cole from Blues

Mark Spector reports that the Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired Ian Cole from the St. Louis Blues for Robert Bortuzzo.

Pierre Lebrun reports that the Penguins are also sending a 2016 7th round pick to the Blues.


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