Trade rumors can be tricky business. The rumor mills are a hotbed for sparking controversy and debate among hockey fans. In this weekly piece, I look at the current marketplace and what rumors are circulating both with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the NHL abroad. Unless otherwise noted, these discussions are strictly rumors and not information from inside sources. Yesterday we pointed out that Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford would need to add a defenseman via trade to help out the team. Today, a suggestion or possibility might have come up, on our radar at least, from Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts.
It has outstanding size and reach, and still has plenty of room to fill out. They can produce offensive numbers, mainly due to a big shot from the point. Has all-round upside. Needs to get even stronger and maximize the use of his huge frame in order to excel at the highest level. nhl 16 coins It isn’t overly physical, despite his size. That needs to change. This is pretty manageable for the Penguins – they would have to trade about that much away (or have Ottawa retain some salary) but otherwise Wiercioch being just a RFA this summer makes him a more attractive asset to try and acquire. Grab him this year, see how he fits in and if all goes well maybe sign him for a 3 year deal, ala Ian Cole.
The Penguins looked certain to be very active in an attempt to bolster their struggling blue line. Recently though, the addition of Trevor Daley has been far more successful than most anticipated and a healthy Kris Letang has helped make this group at least resemble a legit NHL defensive corps. Things have slowed quite a bit on the rumor front in Pittsburgh but I don’t believe for one minute that Jim Rutherford isn’t actively working the phones. This is pretty manageable for the Penguins – they would have to trade about that much away (or have Ottawa retain some salary).
Jim Rutherford, shortly after acquiring Daley from the Chicago Blackhawks, stated that he planned to let Mike Sullivan settle in with this roster before making any further moves. No matter what your opinion of Rutherford is, there’s no denying that he’s normally very honest and up front, so it isn’t surprising that he hasn’t made a move over the last few weeks. However, he has had plenty of time to assess things with Sullivan and it’s clear that the Penguins can still use another legit top-four defender. It also wouldn’t surprise me if Rutherford has at least some interest in either Drouin or Rychel. Interestingly enough, I mentioned both of these youngsters this past summer when discussing possible offseason targets for the Penguins at PensLabyrinth.
But those are hard deals to make for a team that have cap issues, that have used up a lot of their currency with first round picks, and other draft picks, and younger players from their system. So it’s not an easy challenge to bolster your lineup via trade when you have the cap issues and have spent the kind of currency that you’ve spent if you’re Pittsburgh. The Penguins would also have prospect Derrick Pouliot in the minors to continue to grow, and serve as an injury backup for a return to the NHL. Player wise, it’s very uncertain who could be available. In the Western Conference, for instance, just 4 points currently separate last place from 7th. The East is a little more spread, but even then no team has lost touch with the pack totally just yet.
The Pens may need to make more of a “hockey trade” with NHL level assets exchanged, hut 16 coins in order to make a trade. The “what” and “who” questions are lingering, but the question of “when” the Pens make a move is certainly ticking closer. Trades in general have been more difficult this season, with so many teams concerned about cap issues. The biggest roadblock seems to be term, which means individuals like Dustin Byfuglien will likely be highly sought after considering his pedigree and expiring contract. Contenders will surely appreciate his ability to contribute without worrying about long-term commitment. He isn’t the only player in that category but definitely the one that stands out the most, especially from a Penguins perspective. First, let’s take a look at what’s circulating around the league.