New Penguins Trade Chips, and Who is Scouting Penguins
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New Penguins Trade Chips, and Who is Scouting Penguins

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Penguins trade chip nick bjugstad pittsburgh penguins

For the first time in over a year, the Pittsburgh Penguins trade last week freed them from their salary cap jail. When Penguins GM Jim Rutherford sacrificed defenseman Erik Gudbranson last Friday in an offering to the salary cap gods, the Penguins purged $4 million. Such coin is enough money to comfortably explore the Penguins trade market for the rest of the season, or after Jan. 1, the team could re-sign a woefully underpaid defenseman who currently plays on the Penguins second pairing.

The Penguins trade also cleared up the Penguins logjam on the blue line, which meant head coach Mike Sullivan no longer had to worry about a platoon of veteran defensemen with John Marino, which included playing Gudbranson on the wrong side.

The Penguins were able to keep Bryan Rust, despite substantial discussions in September and the rest of their forward depth, which permits head coach Mike Sullivan to create a lineup to his liking rather than his necessity.

The Penguins depth has created a few new trade chips for Rutherford to improve his team. He has a few dollars to spend, and he could spend even more as salary goes out the other way. The Penguins have a couple of pieces which fit that bill. And there could be a couple of teams watching.

Teams Watching

After sending scouts, including their Director of Scouting for a pair of games last week, St. Louis was not there Saturday. The defending Stanley Cup champion has rolled speedy grinder Sammy Blais on their top line and currently light-scoring youngster Robert Thomas on their third line.

For the second consecutive game, the San Jose Sharks sent a pro scout. In fact, they sent two scouts Tuesday, including former LA Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, who returned Saturday.

San Jose is in a bad way right now. They delayed bringing Patrick Marleau back because they wanted younger players to fill the void, but those players did not. San Jose is currently last in the Western Conference and just two points ahead of the woeful Ottawa Senators.

Not much is clicking in San Jose, despite bringing Joe Thornton and Marleau back for one more run. San Jose GM Doug Wilson is not one to sit quietly or allow his team to sink. While Colletti isn’t part of the San Jose front office, one has to wonder if his assessments carry a little more weight as a professional GM who understands team construction?

San Jose is thin at center, perhaps in net, too. Starting goalie Martin Jones is 2-7-1 with an anemic .887 save percentage.

The Winnipeg Jets are also scuffling. Their Director of Pro Scouting was in attendance on Saturday. Winnipeg was a frequent onlooker of the Penguins last winter, too. Winnipeg has the Dustin Byfuglien situation to deal with, and they may need some new blood to rattle the room, also.

Winnipeg’s blue line is a shell of what it has been as they dealt Jacob Trouba to New York and Byfuglien last his passion for the game, but dealing a defenseman would not play into the Penguins depth.

RedBeard's Pittsburgh

Penguins Trade Chips

1. Nick Bjugstad

The big Penguins center does the little things very well. His line consistently generates puck possession and offensive zone time. Bjugstad has stealth speed and is a strong player on the wall. However, the points haven’t followed. Bjugstad is a career 8% shooter, which means he isn’t putting the puck into the net.

Last season, Bjugstad and Patric Hornqvist were a dynamic duo that wreaked havoc on opponents, but their offensive totals were down. Bjugstad’s early-season injury kept him from finding his flow this season.

Head coach Mike Sullivan admitted Saturday, “We feel Nick is capable of playing better than he is at this point. To his defense, he hasn’t played a lot. He’s another guy whose been out, and when you jump back into the lineup, sometimes it takes a little bit of an adjustment process, but we do think he’s capable of more.”

Bjugstad makes $4.1 million through next season. He has played only five games this season, but the Penguins have a third-line center in waiting: Jared McCann. Trading a forward would also allow the team to recall Sam Lafferty, who acquitted himself well during his emergency recall, which lasted most of October

San Jose, which has been using Tomas Hertl as a center, seems like a fit here.

2. Alex Galchenyuk

The Penguins return for winger Phil Kessel looked sharp in training camp. However, as the games counted, Galchenyuk was absent. He has a pair of assists in five games, but more is expected of him.

Galchenyuk, 25, is in the final year of his contract, which carries a $4.9 million hit. His performance gets the same injury asterisk as Bjugstad, but Galchenyuk wasn’t good before his injury, either. The Penguins honest, in-your-face style of play this season can’t afford passengers. Galchenyuk is to be the “skill” to the Penguins brawn.

Perhaps another team will take the gamble that Galchenyuk will click and put up the lofty offensive totals he is capable. Galchenyuk does have a 30-goal season and a couple of 20-goal outbursts on his resume.

St. Louis seems like an interesting fit.

3. Tristan Jarry

The young Penguins goalie has been spectacular in his three starts this season. He understands the salary cap played a role in his NHL chance this season but has made the most of it. Jarry was the Penguins second-round choice in 2013 and carries the remnants of his starting goalie pedigree.

Jarry, 24, has a whopping .939 save percentage but the Penguins also have goalie Casey DeSmith in the AHL awaiting his NHL return. The Penguins did not intend for DeSmith to be in the AHL this long, but a trade fell through on the eve of the regular season, and until recently, the Penguins could not afford DeSmith on the roster.

And Jarry has been lights-out, standing on his head, 10-bell save spectacular, too.

A lot of teams which have been scouting the Penguins fit for Jarry. San Jose, Ottawa, and even Winnipeg, whose backup goalie Laurent Brossoit has a paltry .858 save percentage.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. bpoulin5

    November 3, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Trading Jarry will be a mistake as he is the best goalie on the roster

    • Richard O'Toole

      November 3, 2019 at 11:53 am

      This is just a ridiculous comment! I would agree with dweth2’s comment though.

    • TERRY

      November 3, 2019 at 4:42 pm

      Cmon man that’s just an idiotic statement and I’d love to hear your reasoning

  2. dweth2

    November 3, 2019 at 10:57 am

    The others I can see but trading Jarry would be a mistake. DeSmith would be a better option for looking for a trade.

  3. Steven Kalabokes

    November 3, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Would be a mistake to trade either Jarry or DeSmith. We need to worry about the NHL expansion in Seattle next season and will likely have to expose a goalie. So we could wind up only with Murray if we trade one of the two. They also take up very little cap space so would be better to trade someone else.

    • Thomas

      November 4, 2019 at 10:24 am

      Your point is exactly why jarry needs traded. Bc we potentially will lose him for nothing next season either way.

  4. Cal

    November 3, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    Of the three mentioned, Galchenyuk would be the one whose absence may be the least felt for the team. Swap for Shwartz? Nah, but if San Jose panics, I wonder what it would take to get Kane?

    • Davod

      November 4, 2019 at 2:52 am

      Kane? I wouldn’t want Kane anywhere near this team.

  5. PuckHog

    November 5, 2019 at 6:05 am

    Sullivan thinks Bjugstad and his 8% career shooting percentage are capable of more so he calls him out in the press yet he promotes Simon who has 6% and 7% shooting percentage both this year and last., doesn’t call him out but defends him in the press and becomes irritated when someone asks the legit question of why a guy with so little skill is playing on the first line.
    He also shuffles lines at the drop of a hat and this year over the past few games Crosby and his line have been getting shut down with alarming regularity. When they get shut down, the team isn’t going to win often and still, nothing is done.
    Y’all overreacted to the game against Philly, declining Simon belongs up there based on one game, but with how crazy hot Sid and Jake were the first 7 games, the approach has noticeably changed to defending against him as teams have figured out that the need is to put the focus on two players while the 3rd guy on our TOP LINE (caps used to emphasize the point of any top line shouldn’t have guys on it that can, relatively speaking, be simply ignored because of the lack of damage they could potentially inflict offensively) is pretty much left to keep an eye on and having no need to use a defender to blanket him freeing up another defender to use on Sid and Jake.
    First 7 games of the season Crosby had 5 goals and 12 points. The next 8 games? 1 goal and 5 points. 3 of which came in one game. If you take away the Philly game that would give him 0 goals, 2 points in 7 games. Contrast that against his first 7 games and you have a 10 point difference.
    God that is pathetic.
    And our coach singles out Bjugstad? Saying that he expects more? That is fine Sully. I think Bjugstad can play better offensively as well. But Bjugstad isn’t the one who is putting players who are inept offensively into positions where high offensive opportunity will arise consistently. Nor is Bjugstad getting games where he’s skated over 20 minutes and a couple others that he was on the ice for 19 minutes. Or like tonight where he was a -3 but saw 17 minutes. A winning team doesn’t have a fringe player who plays those amounts nor do they have one gifted a spot on the top line. Let alone where Sidney Crosby is the center. A championship caliber team doesn’t have a coach who allows their top line to get essentially blanked while losing 5 of 7 without making any adjustments. It’s what exposed Bylsma and Sullivan is sitting on his thumbs while we’ve lost the ground which was gained in the beginning of the year. A winning organization doesn’t have a coach who lets obvious personal choices continue to the obvious detriment of the team. But as a fan, I expect more from Sullivan. Take a look at the mitigating circumstances around Bjugstad and the need to call him out, while your pet project has stunk up the ice for too many games now while you’ve literally done nothing but throw even more ice time at the situation.
    But yeah Sully, Bjugstad is the issue and not Simon getting over 20 minutes of ice in the very same game you barely gave Jared McCann who leads the team in +/- despite not playing with any of the big guns, 10 minutes total. Yeah, it’s always the fault of the players entirely which you’ve conveniently thrown under the bus (unless they are your personal favs) just as you’ve done for your entire coaching career while your image has greatly benefited from their talent.
    But all we keep hearing is how great he is. Open an honest eye people…it is seriously time for both him and Rutherford to go while we still have a window left.

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