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Dan’s Daily: Trouba Trade Block; Travel Nightmare; Penguins Done?



P.O Joseph, Lars Eller, Pittsburgh Penguins game

The rush has ended, and the dust is settling. Perhaps the wildest first days of NHL free agency in memory as the salary cap went up by several million for the first time since that little lab bug wrecked the world, general managers have largely kept their sanity. Day 2 had a little bit of fun and a few NHL trade rumors, but New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba is resisting a trade. We can begin to see the winners and losers of free agency. P.O Joseph and his brother are headed to St. Louis, and we put the Pittsburgh Penguins under the microscope to see the results of their offseason trades and signings.

For all of the handwringing over Steven Stamkos leaving Tampa Bay, or rather Tampa Bay showing Stamkos the door Monday, I’ll ask this question again: What is so special about spending an entire career in one city? It seems hockey and football value it mightily, and players pursue it to their detriment. Stamkos gets more money and the excitement of a new city and fans. Tampa Bay got Jake Guentzel, whom they believe will help them win more games.

Does anyone really think playing in Nashville will cheapen the Stanley Cups Stamkos won in Tampa Bay? Will Tampa Bay fans not loudly cheer when he comes back for the 25th anniversary party? Who knows, perhaps Stamkos and family will like Nashville much more than I do.

Happy Birthday, Leo.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Let’s start with the schedule. The NHL released the full 2024-25 season schedule, and the Penguins have some hellacious stretches, including a seven-game road trip. Here’s the Penguins’ schedule.

The Penguins added another defenseman Tuesday, but let’s get this straight. His name is the same as the center for the Carolina Hurricanes, but he is, in fact, unequivocally, provably, NOT the Hurricanes’ center. Here are the details as the Penguins signed Sebastian Aho.

I caught the first half hour of Mark Madden’s show on Tuesday, and someone had already broken the seal, thinking the Penguins had got the other Aho. Speaking of media, the Penguins will need a new radio voice. Steve Mears left for the TV gig with the Columbus Blue Jackets. I guess that’s the end of the chic restaurant recommendations on the road. Fare thee well, Mearsy.

OK, now the big analysis story. The coaches and GMs put their team on the whiteboard to see what they’ve got. We did that for the Penguins, and … it doesn’t look done, or at least president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas shouldn’t be done. Take a look–The signings indicate there are a couple of expendable veterans and some big holes. Will there be more Penguins trades?

NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now

NY Post: Trouba is trying to keep the family unit together, and the Rangers are trying to move his $8 million salary. The Rangers wanted his no-trade list, but things are grinding to a halt. The NHL trade block is waiting. Here’s the latest.

Sportsnet: Nashville stole the show. Chicago had a quietly great day improving their team around Connor Bedard. A few teams struck out or settled for leftovers. Ahem. Here’s the league-wide analysis.

Montreal Hockey Now: Bam. Rather than toss money at free agents, Montreal also tossed a stack of cash at their own, but they gambled heavily. Montreal maxed out for 2022 first-overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky. GM Kent Hughes had to defend that signing as well as their draft and choice of UFAs. It’s an exciting time for the Montreal Canadiens.

New Jersey Hockey Now: The Devils reached into their past to give it one more go-round. Tomas Tatar is back with the New Jersey Devils.

Daily Faceoff: Former Penguins defenseman P.O Joseph signed a one-year, $950,000 deal with the St. Louis Blues. Fortunately for him, St. Louis also acquired his brother Mathieu. So, no more roughing calls against each other.

I know Joseph polarizes opinions, even inside the Penguins. He always has. Joseph won’t become an All-Star defenseman, but the Penguins and fans really missed the boat on him. His play down the stretch was very good because he found some confidence and felt comfortable. That’s all he ever needed.

TSN: A few teams have an advantage that transcends sports and goes into politics. It seems to be a growing issue as the Florida teams start winning, and Nashville could throw money at UFAs. A TSN analysis shows teams in states without income tax do better in free agency.

Well, duh. Also, there are a handful of cities that I’d never work in, not even for a huge payday, though I really like Edmonton. Go figure.

Florida Hockey Now: And further proof that good weather, a good team, and no taxes is a selling point: The Florida Panthers got a big discount for defenseman Nate Schmidt.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving has apparently declined Nick Robertson’s trade request. Speaking publicly, Treliving basically said, “Nope.” I would have bet money would wind up with the Penguins, but here are the details.

The potential departure of Mitch Marner next summer surely plays a role, but you have to create some space if you want the kid to stick around.

Finally, check out this story. Our college, Jon Bailey, is a quiet, unassuming guy who just wanted to make his way home from Las Vegas. A handful of Flyers prospects were traveling to development camp. Together, the boys were stranded by American Airlines in Chicago, and they didn’t exactly receive a nice hotel, either. As the time stretched to almost 36 hours, Bailey writes about two days in travel hell with the Flyers prospects.

Knock on wood. The worst I’ve been through so far is the 12 hours basically by myself in a Winnipeg terminal. They cleared everyone except a group of four of us. Even the restaurants and snack bars closed. If I ever get back there, I owe the Tim Horton’s kiosk a few bucks for the donut.