The 2021 Pittsburgh Penguins trade deadline activities probably ended before the 3 p.m Monday NHL trade deadline. When President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke hopped on Sportsnet to chat with his old colleagues, the quotes started flying, but so did Burke’s confidence in the Penguins team.
Burke certainly has a way with words and knows how to command an audience.
“We believe this team is capable of making some noise, especially adding Jeff (Carter),” he said. “We had chances to move some guys out and refused to do so. These guys have worked so hard. We’ve got good chemistry, and we’ll start getting healthy here pretty soon.”
The Penguins added Carter, officially around 1:40 a.m. on Monday, in exchange for a conditional 2022 third-round pick and a 2023 fourth-rounder. The third-round pick can become a second if the Penguins make it to the Stanley Cup Final and Carter plays in 50% of the games.
Perhaps in the coming days, we’ll find out more about GM Ron Hextall’s chances to move players out, to which Burke alluded. We will certainly find out more about the Penguins’ plans for Jeff Carter, who played right wing in LA this season but spent most of his career as a center in Philadelphia, Columbus, and LA.
As a center, his point totals dropped last season. He scored only 27 points (10g, 27a) in 60 games. LA head coach Todd McClellan moved Carter to the RW this season, and he skated beside Blake Lizotte.
Carter has 19 points this season, including eight goals in 40 games.
“He’s a versatile guy that can play wing or center–He can fill lots of different holes in the lineup–He can play up on the first line, play down on the third line,” Burke said of Carter. “He’s got size and can still skate despite his advanced age. We’re really excited about him.”
Burke was joking about Carter’s advanced age. The Penguins PoHO was having a good time with his old buddy David Amber, who often anchored when Burke was a Sportsnet analyst.
The Penguins currently have holes at two positions in their lineup. They are short two centers with Evgeni Malkin’s absence and the potential of Frederick Gaudreau’s injury. We’ll learn more on Tuesday about Gaudreau.
And the Pittsburgh Penguins are without two right wings, Brandon Tanev and Kasperi Kapanen. So, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan will have his choice where to play Carter.
Hextall said during his presser on Monday that he does not expect Tanev back before the end of the regular season.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have won three games in a row and eight of their last 10 games. They’ve put a double-digit point differential between themselves and the Philadelphia Flyers for the final playoff spot in the East Division.
Carter should be in Pittsburgh soon.
“(Hextall) talked to LA, made the deal late last night, talked to the player. He’s quite excited,” Burke said. “He’s actually getting on a plane in about two hours to head here. We’re really excited to have him.”
That should put Carter in Pittsburgh sometime late Monday night, assuming about a five-hour direct flight. NHL players don’t get weird Expedia discount stopovers in Charlotte or Dallas, do they?
It seems Carter was hesitant to waive his no-trade clause, at least when the Penguins came calling weeks ago. Burke said Carter was comfortable in Los Angeles and didn’t want to move. But things began to change. And then Burke dropped the most quotable line of the entire 2021 NHL trade deadline.
“I don’t think anyone had to sell (Carter) on coming here,” Burke began. “We’re the Pittsburgh Penguins. We’re not going to kiss anyone’s butts to come play here.”