TEMPE, AZ – The NHL trade market is clogged. The prospects for improvement for the Pittsburgh Penguins are not the hopeful or rosy outlook the organization would like, nor will they be for Penguins fans. Amidst a second desert-like drought this season, the Penguins are fighting for the playoffs. Ice problems seem to be multiplying, and suddenly some of those problems seem to be caused by the team’s make-up.
PHN also strongly expressed the penguins On Friday, it’s time for GM Ron Hextall to start determining what’s ailing the Penguins, who have just 19 wins in 38 games.
However, as 20 or so other teams have discovered, the NHL trade market is at a standstill. Many players are available, but no teams have much space to make these moves.
Compounding matters, there are only a few bad teams in the NHL that would sell players at a discount. Other teams currently out of the playoffs seem to have a plan and are on the ups, including Detroit Red Wings and Yzer Plan. These teams do not need to carry veterans or high salaries. They don’t need to do anything that won’t benefit them in the long run.
In short, bad teams and rebuilding teams need to be “persuaded” to take over the salary dumps with the inclusion of high prospects or recruiting picks.
It’s a good time to lose with a list of low-paying young people.
The last discussion barrier, the salary cap is likely to go up by $1 million, not the $3-4 million Commissioner Gary Pittman floated during meetings of the Board of Governors. So, those teams that are rebuilding have less incentive to accept a veteran player signed within the next year or beyond.
Yes, it will be difficult.
And Hextall faces difficult, if not impossible, choices. The list is created to win now, and only now, but to improve it, he has to sacrifice more for the future.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this, but here they are.
Everyone else is fair game, with varying degrees of desirability and availability. We will put aside the terms of non-action. This seems to be the exception, rather than the rule, for gamers to enforce.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are valued in the NHL trade market
Jeff Carter: Must be packaged with the first round selection.
Carter may have had some commercial value for a young team that needs the intangibles Carter brings, but his play this season was neither what the Penguins needed nor teams could use. He struggled in the Penguins’ third-line position and his contract, which appeared to be a bargain upon signing, runs until next season. Now his contract with $3.8 million is a drag.
There are still better players than Carter available because they have the same requirements – a first-round pick attached.
Kasperi Kapanen: Stocks rally
Two weeks ago, Kabanin had little value for the complex. His game was a mess, he was fresh from several health scrapes, and he went on to the next season’s $3.2 million hit.
However, Kapanen started revitalizing his game. Despite the limited time on the ice, he was one of the Penguins’ best skaters at Monday’s Winter Classic. He was once again one of the Penguins’ best in a heart-shattering loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday. Kapanen’s ice time was his third-highest of the season (14:39).
If Kapanen can win back the confidence of head coach Mike Sullivan and keep his offense going, he will have value in the commercial market and for the Penguins. His trade value at the moment may require a lower asset to be listed, but he can “run through the water” and make a small return (thus removing his salary) or an asset of a similar price.
Brian Dumoulin: No trading value
Perhaps earlier in the season, he had value as a veteran defenseman to nurture a young corps from the blue lines. This probably isn’t realistic unless Stan Bowman gets a GM job (see Rob Scuderi for Trevor Daley, 2016). Dumoulin’s contract expiration and play decline means the Penguins are ride-or-die with their former defender. If roster circumstances change, we could see Dumoulin in the press box or dugout with the WBS Penguins, saving the team about $1.1 million.
Brian Rust: Player to Player/Selection
It seems a little crazy to include a player who just signed a five-year contract over the summer, loves organization, and has a pair of Stanley Cup rings. However, Rust has had the game this season. He has 23 points (9-14-23) but he’s a whopping -13.
At only 30 years old, he has great attacking skills, speed and tenacity. Penalty kills are usually at the top of the Penguin power game.
If Hextall sees an opportunity to acquire an asset to improve the team, Rust is valuable in a player-to-player deal. He also has enough value to trade with an option to carry over his salary, allowing for another acquisition.
However, Rust does have an immobility clause, and it seems likely that he will exercise it. Also, there aren’t many scenarios where the penguins can get better without Rust.
Jason Zucker: Player/Selection
Just cut and paste a lot of Zucker’s Rust analysis, except Zucker is UFA in July. Maybe the team desperately needs a six-man LW and has a back-up defenseman?
However, unlike RW, penguins do not have any substituents in LW.
Brock McGinn: Mid-round selection/Defender depth
McGinn’s $2.75 million hit isn’t bad. However, it is expendable. Ryan Poehling could slide to the third line LW. Perhaps some of the WBS Penguins crew, including Valtteri Puustinen, could fill the role by committee.
Teddy Blogger: The value of a team outweighs the value of a business
Blueger has recently been featured in some NHL trade rumors, including from the Daily Faceoff. He’s a member of the NFL and, in a vacuum, would be a legitimate business candidate for a team that desperately needs the help of the bottom six.
Out of the void, the Penguins desperately need help from a bottom six, Blueger could soon be a third-line center, and PK’s improvement with Blueger has been stark. The trade doesn’t seem to make sense. Consider the Blueger the Penguins rental acquisition.
PO Joseph: Multiple selection, centre-six winger
From this point of view, it may seem silly to replace a quickly maturing defensive lineman with an elite skate and untapped offensive potential but to get, one has to give.
Joseph’s ice time has stalled since Ty Smith’s arrival last week, so it’s not entirely inconceivable that he could be dealt with by the NHL trade deadline. Smart GMs will line up for Joseph, and he could be the only piece that facilitates the real trade.
He might not bring back Ryder Owl, but with his $825k salary, maybe he can? Otherwise, he can bring in multiple selections and even a six-medium winger. Of course, a player-versus-player action would require Joseph to be attached to a veteran salary, which would greatly reduce any return.