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Penguins Wrap: NHL’s Mid-Summer Slumber; Taking Jab at Fighting



Erik Karlsson

Although things around the NHL tend to slow in mid-summer — the draft and heavy free-agency action are over and training camp is still in the future — the Pittsburgh Penguins still have some issues to resolve before autumn arrives.

Kyle Dubas, their president of hockey operations and interim GM, still has to fill out his front-office staff and try to complete a trade for San Jose defenseman Erik Karlsson. And if he does manage to pry Karlsson from the Sharks, Dubas surely will have to make some personnel moves to take on all or part of Karlsson’s $11.5 million salary-cap hit.

So while it has been relatively quiet around PPG Paints Arena lately, that won’t go on indefinitely. And things could pick up at any time.

Until then, here’s a look at the Penguins’ past six days:


Assessing Drew O’Connor’s worth to the Penguins, and how the outcome of his scheduled arbitration hearing could affect their personnel plans for the rest of this offseason.


Defenseman Ryan Graves, signed as a free agent July 1, likes to play a two-way game, but understands what the top priority in his role with the Penguins will be.

A lot of hockey fans won’t like it, but it’s time for the NHL to make the punishment for fighting more severe than a five-minute penalty. (+)

The Penguins confirm a PHN report from June 10: They’ll be sending a squad to the Prospects Challenge tournament in Buffalo Sept. 15-18.

The Penguins add to their organizational depth in goal when Wilkes-Barre/Scranton signs Garrett Sparks to an NHL contract. Sparks was with Toronto during Kyle Dubas’ time there.


You asked, he answered. A subscribers-only Q&A covering everything from a contract for Jake Guentzel to memories of Patric Hornqvist. (+)


Drew O’Connor is scheduled to have a salary arbitration hearing Aug. 4. It probably is in the interest of both sides if they can reach an agreement before the hearing is held.


Yeah, the Pittsburgh Penguins are better than they were a few months ago, but are they good enough to get back into the playoffs?

The Penguins’ organizational depth chart is goal has gotten awfully crowded since the end of last season. Will Casey DeSmith, who has been Tristan Jarry’s backup for several seasons, be the odd-man-out?


Erik Carlsson tells a Swedish outlet that the Penguins and Carolina aren’t the only teams actively trying to acquire him from San Jose, and that he’s not interested in remaining with the Sharks.

No-trade and no-movement clauses can make it tough for teams to move a player who has those protections in his contract. Here’s a way to address that issue that would work to the benefit of both parties.