The Pittsburgh Penguins now have nine defensemen who have played significant minutes in the NHL this season. If and when the roster gets fully healthy, the Penguins don’t need a depth defenseman, but that should not preclude their want for one. The Penguins have five right-handed d-men on the list but only four left siders. PHN has compiled the list of likely rental players who will fill the NHL trade rumors in advance of the trade deadline.
And the Penguins seem hesitant to insert left-side spare defenseman Juuso Riikola into the fire with the current crop of righties. In other words, the Penguins really only have three left-side defensemen when fully healthy.
Typically, the market is hot for righties because they’re in scarce supply, and lefty defensemen can be had for mid-round picks. (See Hainsey, Ron. 2017).
Rental Left-Handed Defenseman Watch List
Andy Greene: New Jersey Devils, 37. $5 million. No-Trade Clause
The New Jersey Devils are going nowhere fast. Offseason hopes and the acquisition of P.K. Subban have resulted in Eastern Conference cellar-dwelling and cost head coach Jon Hynes his job. Greene is the New Jersey captain and holds a full No-Trade clause. If he doesn’t want to leave, he won’t.
Should Greene be open to a new address, even temporarily, he has high value. He is a steady puck-mover with a calm demeanor and a good hockey IQ. He’s one of those guys who just knows where to be. You rarely hear his name because he simply does his job. This season, Greene has five assists in 32 games.
A team starved for a top-four defenseman could drive up the price.
T.J. Brodie: Calgary Flames, 29. $4.65 million. Modified No-Trade Clause
Brodie is lightning fast and can move the puck. If Calgary does fall too far out of the playoff chase, which seems to be a possibility, Brodie will command a nice price. too. However, like Greene, Brodie is entrenched in Calgary. This is his ninth season in Stampede city and he has some control over his destination. He can block a trade to eight teams.
Brodie is easily a top-four defenseman and the game, especially the faster Eastern Conference game, is coming to him.
Marco Scandella: Buffalo Sabres, 29. $4 million
At 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, Scandella is a presence. He’s not an overt thumper and he can struggle against zippy forwards, but he could be a proper third-pairing defenseman with a faster, puck-moving defenseman. Ahem, John Marino.
He has eight points (3g, 5a) in 30 games this season and is averaging over 16 minutes of ice time.
Ron Hainsey: Ottawa Senators, 39. $3.5 million. Modified No-Movement Clause
Penguins fans may remember the steady-eddy of the Penguins 2017 Stanley Cup run. The Penguins acquired Hainsey from the Carolina Hurricanes for a second-round pick and a minor leaguer as insurance for an injury-ravaged blue line. Hainsey became the Penguins top-pairing d-man with Brian Dumoulin when Kris Letang was lost for the season with a neck injury.
It wasn’t an ideal pairing but they did the job well enough to kiss Lord Stanley again. At 39-years-old, Hainsey is probably on his last go-round and he won’t win a Stanley Cup in Ottawa. GMs often afford such veterans some say in their destination and Hainsey may enjoy another chance to have his jeans reduced to Daisey Duke shorts by the Matt Cullen clan.
Brenden Dillon: San Jose Sharks, 29. $3.25 million
Dillon is a big, heavy defenseman who uses his size. He is the kind of stay-home thumper who would be a counter-balance to John Marino on the Penguins third pairing.
Dillon, 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, isn’t an offensive defenseman but has a respectable 10 points (1g, 9a) in 40 games this season.
Trevor Daley: Detroit Red Wings, 36. $3.166 million. Modified No-Trade Clause
Another former Penguins defenseman who helped the team lift the Stanley Cup. You may remember, Trevor Daley was the first player Sidney Crosby handed the Cup to in 2016. Daley is fast, knows when to push the play and when to stay back, and is a great locker room presence. He could fit on any of the Penguins three pairs.
Daley has been stuck in Detroit’s rebuilding process after signing a three-year deal on July 1, 2017. Daley has just one assist in 19 games this season.
Mark Boroweicki: Ottawa Senators, 30. $1.2 million
Boroweicki was a pounding physical presence in the 2017 Eastern Conference Final between Ottawa and the Penguins. He is an angry, stay-at-home defenseman who inflicts bruises on opponents.
At $1.2 million, he would be an ideal 6/7 defenseman who could play with the bigger physical teams like the Washington Capitals, but the Penguins would not have so much invested that he would be immune to the press box. He has 15 points (4g, 11) in 39 games this season.
Boroweicki is not built to face top-end competition, but the Penguins need left-side insurance, not a top-pairing defenseman.
Erik Gustafsson: Chicago Blackhawks, 27. $1.2 million
Gustafsson would fit perfectly into the Penguins system, though he isn’t a stay-at-home counterbalance to the Penguins right-side defensemen who like to push the play.
Last season, Gustafsson had 60 points, but it was a career outlier. This season, Gustafsson has 16 points (5g, 11a). Chicago has scouted the Penguins, but Chicago has been active. The organization is rumored to be considering sweeping changes. He is a puck mover, mobile defenseman.