Personality or Team; What Would You Trade for a Stanley Cup?
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Personality or Team–What Would You Trade for a Stanley Cup?

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will lose something this season. Teams across the NHL have decided not dealing with the Penguins is preferable to helping the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions to improve. So, the Penguins will likely lose a trade for a third line center, they will lose a fan favorite like Jake Guentzel in that deal, or the Penguins will lose in the playoffs, assuming they make the postseason.

Is Pittsburgh prepared for any of that?

It’s a funny thing about the Penguins fan base. Beginning with Mario Lemieux, individual players were marketed as hockey, more so than the game itself. In fact, fans over 35-years-old may remember “Double Trouble.” The Penguins talented players were given double numbers, like Lemieux (John Cullen #11, Zarley Zalapski #33, Robby Brown #44, Larry Murphy #55, Lemieux #66, and Paul Coffey #77).

It was about the players, not the game.

The trend has continued for more than 25 years. From Lemieux to Jaromir Jagr, Alexei Kovalev and finally to this generation with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury and Kris Letang, the core players even have ardent fans who occasionally war with each other. In Pittsburgh, importance is often about the name on the back of the sweater, not the crest on the front.

Will fans accept parting with a popular player like Guentzel if it means a better chance at the Stanley Cup?

A few weeks ago, a trusted source told Pittsburgh Hockey Now the Penguins could part with a young winger. The source specifically mentioned Conor Sheary, Daniel Sprong, and Guentzel because they have a surplus on the flanks.

So, how about it? Would you part with “your” player for a better chance at the Stanley Cup? Or are you already writing in the comments section that the Penguins could never get better by trading one of those players?

Tough Go for Pittsburgh

Penguins fans may look with pity upon Pirates fans, who have annually said goodbye to fan favorites for 25 years but rarely received a chance at glory in return.

RedBeard's Pittsburgh

It’s been 15 years since Penguins fans watched their heroes shipped away for a bag of pucks or anything less than a chance to get better. Even so, several trades lived in infamy, not for their failure but the personalities involved.

The 2014 trade, James Neal for Patric Hornqvist, for starters.

Neal was a fan favorite, but perhaps not the best player or presence to propel the Penguins forward. Even into last season, the “debate” would erupt on social media and the blogosphere: Did the Penguins win the Neal trade? Large numbers of fans still lamented Neal’s departure, even after Hornqvist proved his worth.

Player loyalty over team betterment.

Marc-Andre Fleury

What if the Penguins met the Vegas Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup–Where would your loyalty rest?

Personality or team?

The Game, the Cup

With Jaromir Jagr’s final exit from the NHL, perhaps it’s time for Pittsburgh to also take the next step, too; worry less about jersey numbers and more about banners in the rafters. Worry more about Stanley Cups and less about nameplates.

Sucess has lived in the Pittsburgh for nearly three decades. The unprecedented run of watching the greatest player in the world, every night, will someday end. And then what?

If it takes saying goodbye to Guentzel or Sprong for another banner in the rafters, that should be a trade which excites Penguins fans. Six, now seven teams across Canada have not won a Stanley Cup since 1993. It’s hard to imagine much angst if those teams sacrificed a player who sells jerseys for a player who wins.

It could be worse. The Penguins could trade franchise cornerstones for a few medium range prospects and secondary players despite having the core of a contender. Instead, Penguins fans have yet another fantastic opportunity to make history.

The opportunity also exists to grow past the exciting beginning of hockey fandom and evolve into a self-sustaining tribe more concerned about the game and franchise success.

So, what would you trade for a Stanley Cup?

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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.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. John Gross

    January 30, 2018 at 9:31 am

    I would be ok with Sheary trade. The other two not so much

    • Dan Kingerski

      January 30, 2018 at 9:40 am

      Thanks, John. Unfortunately, that’s the point of the article–the Penguins are more important than one player, and to evolve as a “hockey” fan base the Pens world needs to let go of the nameplates.

      • Praveen R

        January 31, 2018 at 3:06 pm

        Why would the wish to hang on to Guentzel be an attachment to his personality? How about some of us like the way he and Rust have shown they can elevate their game in the playoffs. I am fine with Sheary leaving because his play is not as strong in the playoffs and he can help some other team that has lesser goals like just having a better regular season record to make the playoffs and is shorthanded on wingers.

  2. Matt B

    January 30, 2018 at 10:28 am

    No problem trading Sheary, Rust, Sprong, or Simon (or any prospect) in a package to get a legitimate 3rd line center. Would include Guentzal, but it must be a HR trade — i.e. getting superb 3rd line center, with 2-3 years of control with a good cap number.

    I think only Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and Murray should be untouchable on this team.

  3. Ricardo58 o

    January 30, 2018 at 10:29 am

    Beyond 87 and probably 71, I as a fan would support any trade that would reasonably increase the likelihood of a 3rd consecutive cup win. This is a professional business. I would support trading 87 5 years from now when the likelihood of team success is much less and the team could secure assets to rebuild again. It would hurt to see 87 in different team colors, but 99 was traded. I am biased. I believe 66 is the great one. As I noted, it is a business.
    Go Pens!

  4. Pete

    January 30, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    keep 87 keep 71 GET THOSE BANNERS

  5. Dennis

    January 30, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    That “the Penguins will lose in the playoffs if they don’t trade for a 3C” is as unproven a proposition as last year’s given that “they can’t win the Cup without Letang”.

    I’m not willing to give up Guentzel in a trade for a 3C (unless it’s Jordan Staal or thereabouts) because it doesn’t increase our chances this year OR in the future.

  6. B

    January 30, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    Lol. Anything to keep further your agenda against Jake Guentzel..Same thing with Phil Kessel.
    Jake Guentzel isn’t going anywhere. I can see if you wrote an article for a strong case for Sheary . Far as I’m concerned Pens are not trading Guentzel and have never talk about that. He is valuable player that will stay than Sheary . Guentzel has a strong upside to be better and with the Pens organization for a longtime. Hes cheap til 2019 where he will get great deal while cap space is going up.
    He will grow! He will have more points Sheary this year.
    Sheary He has been bad on the ice. Untouchable are 87,81,71,30,59,3,4,8 and 72 via Ufa who will get signed.
    Possibly 17 because he is great value player in keep moments and abilities against opponents.35 and 1 as well because Rutherford stated he isn’t giving up he three great promising goalies. Sheary has a case to be Trade way more than Guentzel. Many site has suggested that like Sheary for Pageau with other players. Same thing goes for Bozak . Difference between two when they are not scoring Guentzel is still effective and noticeable. Yes Jake isn’t scoring goals right due to line shuffling and 3rd line experiment that shouldn’t have never happen. Sheary is weak. Bad on the boards , turnovers, can’t win pucks, can’t finish shots, low hockey iq and often lost. Bad skating sometimes. Bad defensively. He needs Crosby more than Crosby needs him. They don’t work well together. Pens could have sit Sheary some games and kept Sprong although he was little bad in Anaheim game . You see far more chemistry and beyond outstanding hockey with Simon than them as unit same way like it was we Guentzel who deserves to be on the first line.
    Crosby elevates him while Sheary hurts Crosby’s overall game to be productive in his elite down low cycle and give Go game. Sheary was a part of Crosby’s slow start.
    Sheary might be on the top line right now because they are at least actively shopping/ trading him and it’s confirmed in verifiable beat writers that’s close to the Pens organization / Coaching staff that they want/ prefer Guentzel on Crosby’s line permanently.

    • Dan Kingerski

      January 31, 2018 at 12:35 am

      …your response to an article about loyalty to nameplates and warring factions within a fanbase is to champion one nameplate and put down another.

  7. Praveen R

    January 30, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    THat’s why I get a lot of flak on SBNation blogs. The fans there are in love with the players. Take Bell. Steelers would be stupid to pay him 14M a year when they have such glaring needs on defense that they cannot fill inthe draft right away(but they have proven to reload on offense via the draft regularly).
    AS far as the Pens, I think they should be prepared to trade guys like Sheary, Dumoulin . Of course, if they can trade Hunwick for anything, do that too. i would rather ride out the year with Cole than keep Hunwick around for 3 years if it means Cole can help us with a 3 peat and no one is offering that much for Cole. I believe Sheary can fetch more than a guy like Rust but Rust is cheaper and will remain cheaper and offer more help in a playoff game. So no to trading a guy like Rust. I think Guentzel’s cold streak keeps his salary demands reasonable and he should help in the playoffs.
    I would not be against even trading Schultz if someone offers someone good for him. LIke a case where a team loses their top 2 D guy. With the freed cap room , we can always replace him with a quality player again while we can gain a player for him now.

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