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PHN Debate: Trade Marcus Pettersson, Even if that Means Eating Salary?

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Marcus Pettersson, Pittsburgh Penguins Trade

In Round Two of the PHN Debate Series, PHN goes head-to-head with ESPN radio host and Mark Madden substitute host Adam Crowley. While the Crowl-man is known for his unenviable allegiance to West Virginia University and being part of the Pittsburgh Steelers radio network, he’s also a pretty good hockey analyst. Crowley joined us to debate Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson, the NHL trade market, and if the Penguins should hold back salary to move Pettersson.

Crowley put up a good fight.

If you missed Round One between PHN and 93-7, the Fan morning host Chris Mack, I won the battle when I convinced Mack the Penguins should protect Brandon Tanev, but I lost the war when the Penguins didn’t. 

Let the battle begin.

PHN Pittsburgh Penguins Debate, Opening statements:

Crowley: The Penguins should trade Marcus Pettersson, even if it means eating salary.

Ron Hextall and Brian Burke are saddled with the difficult task of keeping the Penguins competitive while also attempting to accrue assets and not leave the cupboard bare for the future. Jim Rutherford left the Pens brass in an unenviable position.

Taking over for GMJR at this particular moment is like playing in a golf scramble event where each of your three partners shanked the tee-shot onto the adjacent green. The offseason thus far has been something of a lay-up. Hextall and Burke could have gone for the green and risked hitting the ball into the woods.

Instead, they’ve played it safe.

But when you’ve got Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang, you’ve got to go for the pin. The Penguins, assuming the health of Malkin at some point during the season, still boast terrific center depth. They’ve got an excellent top defense pair. They’ve got a two-time Cup-winning coach.

What they’re missing is a capable goaltender. Tristan Jarry almost single-handedly led to the Penguins’ dismissal in the first round of the playoffs. They need better. Is that player available? I’m not sure. If he is, Hextall and Burke should pull out all the stops in an attempt to acquire him. Marcus Pettersson is a good defenseman. To attain a good player, you probably have to give one up. His cap hit is manageable, but he becomes even more attractive if the Pens pay a portion of his salary.

If that type of move can land Pittsburgh an upgrade in goal, the head brass should do it and not think twice about it.

Kingerski: What do with no money and no options?While it may sound like High School for many of us, the Penguins prospects of putting Marcus Pettersson on the NHL trade block follow those restrictive lines. A trade could both provide and suck up valuable salary-cap space.

And that’s the problem.

The Penguins don’t have assets, prospects, or cap space to spare to add to a trade package that would allow them to move Pettersson on the NHL trade market. See also (trigger warning) Jack Johnson’s buyout, which will be eating over $1.1 million and $1.9 million next season before settling into a lovely price tag of 916k for a few years.

In other words, to trade Marcus Pettersson to one of the interested teams would probably cost the Penguins another $1 million, if not $2 million for four more years, which means about $3 million per season in dead money. Or cost them a top prospect. Those are the rules now. Ouch. And double ouch.

Does anyone know that P.O. Joseph or Mark Friedman can handle everyday chores yet?

Rebuttals

Crowley: If the Pittsburgh Penguins find a suitable netminder, I’m willing to deal with the dead money.

If I’m Hextall or Burke, I can’t allow Tristan Jarry to be my number one goaltender this year or into the future. The Penguins have a better chance of winning with a good goaltender and three-ish million dollars of dead cap money than with Jarry.

Cap-strapped teams need lesser-paid players to contribute! When the Pens won the cup in 2016, they did so with contributions from players such as Conor Sheary and Tom Kuhnhackl. Neither was a proven commodity—ditto Jake Guentzel in 2017. And while I’m certainly not saying that Pierre Olivier Joseph and Mark Friedman will make THAT kind of impact, I’ve liked aspects of what I’ve seen from each of them.

POJ makes 900K. Friedman makes 725K.

Kingerski: I just don’t get the Jarry poo-pooing. He had a bad playoff series, not a season, but let’s focus on Pettersson.

Mark Friedman is 25, and the Philadelphia Flyers were desperate for defensemen, but head coach Alain Vigneault still didn’t turn to Friedman. P.O. Joseph is listed over 180 pounds, but he must have had 10-pound shoes on when they weighed him.

Like everyone, I’m intrigued by both Friedman and Joseph, but not enough to put all of my eggs in their basket. Not yet. To trade Pettersson will cost the Penguins assets, not improve them, so the minimal savings have to be worth additional benefits. Hextall is a firm believer in not picking the fruit until it’s ripe, and there’s a lot to be said for making Joseph kick the door down before Hextall takes a beating with Pettersson on the NHL trade market.

Jury: 

What say you on the counts of the Pittsburgh Penguins trading Marcus Pettersson and eating salary to do so? The comments section below is all yours.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Stephen Powanda
Stephen Powanda
23 days ago

I say Petterson should be traded even if we must pay a million of his salary. I say this is the best chance we are going to have for a cup so go after Gibson. I say do the same with Zucker!

Uros
Uros
23 days ago

Yes. I did write something like that during the expansion draft. Anything for a good goalie because the clock is ticking and the team won’t get younger and better tomorrow. It is difficult to win a cup, but you should at least try to while you still can, and you certainly can’t with current goaltending. Vokoun was great and probably saved Fleury’s carrier. Someone could save Jarry’s too if he is what people think he is.

JakeWoods
JakeWoods
22 days ago
Reply to  Uros

It’s true we needed better (even average) goaltending to advance but we can’t all forget why we SHOULD have won the series with average goaltending. Stripping the team bare just to solve that one problem won’t fix it. We’ll just be losing in the first round for a different reason.

Robert Mild
Robert Mild
23 days ago

Trading Pettersson even if you have to eat $1M makes some sense since you seem to have a viable replacement in POJ. Wouldn’t make the move if it costs more $ and certainly wouldn’t help if we had to take a similar contract in return. Big question is what would GMRH do with the cap space? Not sure a quality goalie capable of replacing Jarry if needed is available for what little cap space we might create. No doubt the Pens will struggle with this lineup to make the playoffs especially since there is no good idea when Geno will… Read more »

Katz
Katz
23 days ago

Think Washington would take him for Daniel Sprong? I think not.

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mike384
mike384
23 days ago

Oh, no I definitely would not trade Pettersson, if I had to retain portion of his money. In reguard of Jarry, yes he cost us the series, but we don’t know how would it ended up, if DeSmith wasn’t injured. Varlamov also looked terrible against us, but unlike us NYI had a good backup, and then Varlamov find his game. It isn’t always about the first netminder you have.

Jeffrey S Knipple
Jeffrey S Knipple
23 days ago

You don’t trade Petterson yet cause you don’t know if you have an NHL able d-man to replace him. Rikkoli has always been intriguing, but Sullivan must know or feel something different for he won’t play him. Joseph is just too thin to handle big minutes or a full season yet and Friedman couldn’t break into Philly’s top 6. So I think you have to stand pat for a while and see what this team can do, which I believe is what Hextall is doing. Is there a forward or two on board that can make that move up to… Read more »

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
23 days ago

They are a fringe playoff team at best now and won’t compete for a Cup first a few years at least. Get used to it. Take the hit now with contracts.

Jason Pope
Jason Pope
23 days ago

Retaining salary for 4 more years is only an option if the player the Pens get in return is under contract for those 4 years and has a cap hit lower than Pettersson. For example Brandon Tanev (I realize he isn’t available) makes a little over $3 million so retaining $1 million on Pettersson evens things out for both teams. The real issue is that it would be about impossible to improve the team on a straight up swap so obviously other assets would need to be included, or the Pens would need to get some extra assets for retaining… Read more »

Tony C
Tony C
23 days ago

Great concept for an article!  If I had to vote, on the jury, I’m inclined to agree with the closing argument, “To trade Pettersson will cost the Penguins assets, not improve them.”   However, it’s hard to judge based on these arguments, as… unless I am I blind, NO EVIDENCE was presented to support the notion that Pettersson should be traded at all (even for equal value in return). Are we to simply PRESUME Pettersson is guilty? I may be wrong, but I believe, come springtime, we we will be talking about two surprising things: 1) how good Marcus Petterson has been playing …… Read more »

Jack McCrory
Jack McCrory
23 days ago

Play with what you have. See where you’re at after 40 games. The regular season is pretty much meaningless. Home ice advantage never works out for the Penguins.

Tom
Tom
23 days ago

I think you keep Petterson, for now. Wait for someone to need a capable dman, get some leverage. In the meantime PO and Friedman get time to show they can or cant handle it. Its ok to be patient.

Last edited 22 days ago by Tom
JakeWoods
JakeWoods
22 days ago
Reply to  Tom

Absolutely agree.

JakeWoods
JakeWoods
22 days ago

I just don’t see the point to be honest. Sure, everyone seems to want an upgrade in goal (and yes, Jarry was ABYSMAL in the post season) but I’m not sure creating another hole in our defense is a great idea. ESPECIALLY if it means more dead salary on the books. We’re already asking who replaces Ceci and groaning mightily at the Jack Johnson cap hit we’ll be paying for the next several years. No goaltender available for the 2-3 million this move would clear up is going to be a significant enough upgrade to justify it. Or even make… Read more »

Don
Don
22 days ago

Do not retain salary on a Peterson trade. If at the deadline we feel Friedman or Joseph can carry the load and someone will give us a low draft pick take it. I like current management has patience!

JakeWoods
JakeWoods
22 days ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

Hold on to him until it is possible. Even if it’s not this season. Like Don said, ONLY if POJ or Friedman proves to be at least a lateral replacement. There would be no point in weakening the D core or just bringing in a replacement with that cap space. Unless MP really performs horribly or something. I just feel like having more dead cap would be way more detrimental to the team than having MP stay on the roster. 2-3 million isn’t nothing but it’s also not going to bring in a player strong enough to make the dead… Read more »

Ken Colligan
22 days ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

Once again, Dan with a splash of reality.

Rob
Rob
22 days ago

Keep Petterson and hope that he exceeds expectations. Then more trade options will open up for him at full price tag. Also, if he plays better, the team will be doing better so they may want to keep him. One “down” year doesn’t mean you automatically trade someone. If Pettersson completely blows this season, then they may be forced to eat salary to trade him. That should be the last thing they want to do. Especially when they have such little cap space available. They simply can’t afford it.

Rob
Rob
22 days ago

On Jarry, they put the eggs in his basket so they have to go with him and Desmith for now. To my knowledge, there aren’t any other goaltenders available for trade or FA. Next offseason, if they need to, they could sign Fleury to back him up and finish his career with the Penguins. Unless another goaltender becomes available via trade. Gibson would be nice as a replacement for Jarry, but he is not a backup and as far as I know, not available. Also, basically everyone not named Carter or Letang underperformed in that playoff series, so I don’t… Read more »

Last edited 22 days ago by Robert Shoemaker
Patrick
Patrick
22 days ago

Who are we looking to trade Petterson for and which teams are showing interest?

My opinion is to keep him for now in case he has a bounce back season. Then, see where we are closer to the trade deadline.

When they are looking at it, maybe package with Zucker to see if they can receive a decent return for a D-man or Goalie.

Simon Hargus
Simon Hargus
22 days ago

I vote don’t trade now. 3 paths for him lay ahead: 1) he doesn’t improve much and your left in the same spot you are now heading into deadline. 2) he improves and you can get a decent trade to address a need after you see what this team is/has/needs ( there’s a lot of unknowns right now) . 3) he improves so much you don’t want to trade him.

Not a lot of downside to wait unless we are abysmal. And right now he won’t fetch anything that could be a giant course correction anyway.

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RealDealJamesNeal
RealDealJamesNeal
22 days ago

Petterson should have been moved a long time ago, guy is just target practice out there. Everyone has praised him until recently and I never saw why. And who is this guy saying Hextall can’t go with Jarry? (Comment edited by PHN).

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Commonsense
Commonsense
19 days ago

As of right now Pen’s would have a hard time trading Petterson (8 teams no) or Zucker (10 teams no) both have mt clauses. As of eating salary only for this yr not full contracts. You can only hope to trade for a comparable contract ending this yr, or less ending in 2023. Both need to heat up, and be delt at TDL…The big ?? Is, will Jarry or DeSmith step up and learn positioning, rebounds (D – as well) & glove are everything.. Fleury had similar issues before he was part of the Stanley Cup. Long season, trade deadline… Read more »

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