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Dan’s Daily: Latest RFA Rumors; How Insiders View Penguins



Pittsburgh Penguins trade bait, Rickard Rakell, Reilly Smith, P.O Joseph

Have you ever wondered just how those on the inside of the hockey industry view the Pittsburgh Penguins? Pittsburgh Hockey Now asked and the story was quite a read as one insider didn’t hold back, though his review was glowing. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan was tabbed for quite the honor from Team USA. Elsewhere in the Daily, the latest NHL rumors and reports on the top 12 restricted free agents, the Carolina Hurricanes trade rumors, and the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers need a Game 7.

A reader recently asked why we charge for subscriptions in the summer. I was a little bit taken aback. Over the past few weeks, we’ve done some in-depth and in person scouting of the top prospects who came to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, we’re headed to Saginaw next week to check out Brayden Yager, and we’re headed to Las Vegas for the 2024 NHL Draft. Our piece yesterday on how insiders view the Penguins wa a prime example of how hard we work, even in the summer.

A reader even asked why we don’t cover the Pirates. Hello, Pittsburgh Baseball Now! It’s already some of the best Pirates coverage with Danny Demilio and John Perrotto.

Also, I had a good chat with Penguins top prospect Brayden Yager on Saturday. His Moose Jaw Warriors won their first WHL championship and he’s having quite the run. I’ll have that story a little bit later Sunday morning. It will be behind the PHN+ paywall to reward those who have joined this band of hockey media rebels. You can, too — here.

Use code Dan10 and get $10 off, my treat!

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The coach many Penguins fans would like to see ousted, was named to lead Team USA in the upcoming Four Nations Face-Off, as well as the 2026 Winter Olympics. A high honor for Mike Sullivan.

I had an idea for a column on Friday morning. Hey, let’s talk to a handful of the hockey insiders that might give us an honest opinion–how does the industry view the Penguins, and their attractiveness to unrestricted free agents? I asked Dave to contribute, but his first phone call to an agent was so good that it became the story. Sometimes, opinions from an independent party can really shed light on what we’re seeing. So, despite Sidney Crosby turning 37 years old and Evgeni Malkin turning 38, how will pending UFAs see the Penguins situation?

I will corroborate what Dave wrote. I, too, spoke with an agent, granting anonimty, who heaped praise on the Penguins organization. Oh, I also got a little tip on a UFA who would like to be here.

Pittsburgh Baseball Now: Oh those wascally wabits. The Pirates and Cubs engaged in a pitcher’s duel until the ninth inning at Wrigley, until a controversial call gifted the Chicago Cubs a win over the Pirates.

Steelers Now: Alan Saunders reports that the Steelers GM Omar Khan is still shopping, and they’ve been in touch with Saints WR Michael Thomas.

NHL Rumors, News & National Hockey Now

Sportsnet: Who will re-sign, who will be in the NHL trade rumors, and who is still up in the air. What to do with the top RFAs?

32 Thoughts Podcast: I think Carolina has a near perfect fit for the Penguins: RFA Martin Necas. Fast as lightning, has some hands, and is a good worker. It looks like he’s going to be squeezed out of Carolina as Seth Jarvis and Jake Guentzel are the priorities to re-sign.

ESPN: Also, Carolina re-signed coach Rod Brind’Amour to a multi-year extension. ESPN’s Kevin Weekes was the first to report, but terms of the deal are not yet known. And Toronto moved to fill their coaching vacancy by hiring Craig Berube.

Philly Hockey Now: Quite the conundrum for Flyers fans. Root for the hated New York Rangers, so Flyers get a better first-round pick (acquired in the Claude Giroux trade a couple of years ago), or root for the Florida Panthers and former Flyers goalie Sergie Bobrovsky? It’s a Sophie’s choice for Philadelphia Flyers fans.

New Jersey Hockey Now: It seems I’m not the only one eyeing Necas on the NHL trade market. James Nichols writes that he is also a great fit and the New Jersey Devils should be interested.

Florida Hockey Now: Hey, I got one right! As we await the Eastern Conference Final, the NHL is handing out a lot of the individual awards. The Selke Trophy went to the Florida Panthers Aleksander Barkov.

Oh and the gamemanship has begun in that series. And the Panthers are getting a little cocky with ticket sales. No no, New York fans, you cannot buy tickets, not today! Florida is denying tickets to the New York Rangers fans.

New offseasons

Colorado Avalanche: The Game 6 defeat was Zach Parise’s last NHL game, and an update on Gabriel Landeskog. The final locker room was a disheartened place, and our Even Rawal was in the middle with the video and final chapter of the 2023-24 Colorado Avalanche.

Boston Hockey Now: Another good team went down in defeat a bit too early. The president Cam Neely should be safe, but Jimmy Murphy takes aim at GM Don Sweeney and coach Jim Montgomery. Should they be safe? The angst surrounding the Boston Bruins.

And one of the free agents that I think the Penguins should avoid, but you very much want — Jake DeBrusk. He had a heck of a playoff run and left it all on the ice Game 6. Jimmy Murphy had high praise, but acknowledged the regular season dip for pending Bruins UFA.

My outside perspective is the Florida Panthers were a lot better and there was nothing Boston could do. However, Sweeney’s failure to land a top center was the fatal flaw. Otherwise, the Bruins are a perennially strong team.