Add another potential name to the hunt for the Pittsburgh Penguins trade list: Adam Lowry, of the Winnipeg Jets.
The Penguins search for a third line center on the trade market has entered its third week, without an end in sight. At the NHL Entry Draft, General Manager Jim Rutherford indicated a trade could be imminent, but after the start of free agency on July 1, he expanded his potential timeline past the start of the upcoming season.
Yesterday, on 93-7 the Fan, Rutherford also told Cook and Poni the Penguins are shopping for a center in the “$2 million dollar range”. You can hear the interview here (Rutherford is ALWAYS worth a listen).
The impending Conor Sheary and Brian Dumoulin arbitration hearings may provide the Penguins enough motivation to accelerate their schedule. If the Penguins lose both cases, the Pens could have only $2 million remaining under the cap, which means their salary cap structure would force them to begin the season with a yet-to-be-determined rookie and Carter Rowney as their third and fourth centers.
If that happens, and opposing GM’s feel the Penguins are desperate, it won’t turn out well for the Penguins.
One team with an extra pivot, and rookie center ready to break through is the Winnipeg Jets. Actually, the Jets have a few potential third line centers. Astute hockey fans have been tweeting some positive suggestions to us:
Shawn Matthias only guy who fits the description
— J***** K******* (@Jkos11) July 13, 2017
Shawn Matthias of the Winnipeg Jets–Right church, wrong pew.
Adam Lowry, Winnipeg Jets
Prior to last season, Lowry, 24, signed a two-year, $2.25 million contract. The 6-5 210lbs center played over 16 minutes per game for the Jets, last season. It was his third NHL season.
Lowry also fits another stated goal of the Penguins offseason–he is a big bodied, heavy hitter. Last season, Lowry threw an impressive 217 hits but accrued just 52 penalty minutes.
The St. Louis native potted a respectable 15 goals and 14 assists. From the Winnipeg Free Press:
“…he’s a towering figure up the middle on the Jets third line. He takes critical defensive-zone draws, plays against many of the league’s top trios, creates a tough-to-move obstacle in front of the net on the power play, delivers hits with regularity and kills penalties.”
Lowry is growing into a solid bottom-6 center, whom coach Paul Maurice trusted to begin 60% of his shifts in the defensive zone. The pounding center is a net-front presence on the power play and a penalty killer… who makes less than $1.3 million. In baseball terms, Lowry would be a homerun.
Why would the Jets make a move? They have a full cupboard with a couple needs. The Jets have Mathieu Perrault, who is fine center worthy of top-9 designation. Perrault currently provides more offense than Lowry, and makes $3 million.
The Jets also have small center Nic Petan, who is a strong playmaker, and talented youngster Jack Roslovic who is ready to break through from the AHL. Winnipeg also boasts Shawn Matthias, who is also a capable NHL center, but has a tendency to disappear for long stretches.
The Jets have been a bad possession team and lack offensive creativity beyond their top line. Speed on the wings in the bottom-6 could also improve. Wilting prospect Marko Dano is running out of time to prove his NHL bonafides on the third line. Talented Jets rookie Kyle Connor will get more time in a top-6 role, but five points in his 20 game debut wasn’t a great start, either.
Seems like the Penguins could help with those needs, with a young NHL player or one of the coming prospects.
The twitter conversation on this topic has been great. We’ve valued the inputs. Quite frankly, it shows this website and our writers have cultivated an educated hockey following. We’ll take that over thousands of fans who love to attack or stir up trouble. Here’s our favorite tweet of the week:
Here’s my target list of guys in the 2 mil range & RFAs that could be there as well. Vegas has a surplus and Detroit is up against the cap. pic.twitter.com/fWnKO1m32M
— Lukas Dreger (@Dr_Dregz) July 13, 2017
It’s hard to see Vegas making more trades or giving up a promising player like Erik Haula, who was an offensively productive player when injuries bumped him into the top-6 in Minnesota, over the last two seasons.
Radek Faksa is a name the Internet and Twitterverse repeated, but Dallas recently signed him to a multi-year, affordable contract. Scratch him from the list.
Awesome submission, Lukas. That’s level 10 twittering…
Perhaps we’ll open a pool–for a donation to St. Jude, contestants will be able to guess who the Pens will eventually acquire.