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Penguins Q&A: GM Search Rumors, Goalie Candidates & Insider Info



Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Connor Hellebuyck and NHL trade rumors

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ offseason is entirely too long. The stir-crazy is already setting in. Former players are being hyped, and bandwagons of runaway opinions only get bigger. The NHL trade chatter hasn’t started, but a few things make sense. And this is what happens, Larry. This is what happens when the Penguins miss the playoffs.

And this is what happens when ownership waits until after they fire people to take a good look at the front office structure.

This Penguins Q&A must deal with a few rumors and unpleasant topics. There’s no avoiding it. So, here we go. But I have included a few nuggets of inside info interspersed throughout.

Answer: I liked the idea, too, but Marc-Andre Fleury essentially slammed the door on the idea when he told the media he’s tired of moving and is staying in Minnesota, even as a backup.

Fleury would have been another personality in the Penguins’ room which had too many quiet, calm types and too few boisterous big personalities. The NHL season is a grind, and some levity keeps things fresh. Fleury would have been simultaneously a sentimental story and a breath of fresh air. But it doesn’t look possible.

John Gibson, Connor Hellebuyck, and Goalies options:

Answer: We received a few John Gibson questions, too. I just don’t think Anaheim will put Gibson on the NHL trade block if they get a top-two pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. Or, if Anaheim does make him available, the Penguins surely cannot afford him. The cost for Gibson would be two number-one picks and more.

Ottawa is also reportedly interested, and they can offer much more than the Penguins without crippling themselves. I could eat these words but consider Gibson implausible.

Now, Hellebuyck? That’s a different story. With one year left on his contract, his strident public opposition to being part of a rebuild, and his occasionally brilliant play, Hellebuyck is much more possible.

The trade cost would be less, and the Winnipeg Jets might be more amendable to a player-for-player trade. The Penguins’ problem would be convincing one of their veterans with an NTC or NMC (it seems like most of them) to accept a deal to Winnipeg, which isn’t a highly sought destination.

It snowed in Winnipeg last week.

There are also options to create a 1/1A situation, including goalies such as Antti Raanta, Laurent Brossoit, and Joonas Korpisalo.

Before making bold predictions, we’ll need to see who becomes the next Penguins GM.

My pick would be Hellebuyck or trying to snare Raanta and Korpisalo. Let’s not forget Casey DeSmith is still around, and he is a perfectly capable 1B goalie if/when he solves his first-half issues, which have killed his stats in the last two seasons.

Pittsburgh Penguins GM

ANSWER: The most prominent name-drop came from Andy Strickland, a legit reporter with deep league connections in St. Louis.

Andy shouldn’t be discounted.

For me, it would be insane on top of crazy on top of a PR disaster. First, Bowman made far too many mistakes as Blackhawks’ GM. Signing Alex DeBrincat to a huge deal, then trading him? A monster contract for Brent Seabrook? Several years ago, there was inside chatter that Stan Bowman’s performance declined after his legendary father, Scotty Bowman, left the organization.

And the elephant in the room: Bowman hushed up a sexual assault, which allowed a sexual predator to coach at a high school, where predictably, a young player was also assaulted.

Can’t. I just can’t clear Bowman. He might be a great guy, but there are consequences to mistakes that large. He’s still banned from the NHL, too.

ANSWER: I thought a lot about this. During the season, I believed the Penguins needed the heat of the playoffs to pull it all together. Then I saw them no-show against New Jersey, start poorly against Detroit, and lose to Chicago in the final 10 days.

It was everything I needed to know. The Pittsburgh Penguins lacked the heart necessary to pull it together. After the NHL trade deadline, the bread didn’t have any yeast. They might have played well for a game or two against Boston, but even with Boston’s sloppy play, the Penguins didn’t have it in them to capitalize.

I think they knew it, deep down. Perhaps that is why they didn’t fight back against the Rangers or show up against the Devils and limped to the end. Teams that don’t get help at the NHL trade deadline can have that reaction.

Chicago. They lost to Chicago with their season on the line.

ANSWER: There is no timetable. Buffalo is 12 years into their “rebuild.” Ottawa has been barren for six years. Detroit hasn’t won a playoff series since 2013 and hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2016.

Would you like to go through what Chicago fans are going through?

Too many people falsely assume that beginning the rebuild means the Penguins will be back in three or four years. Kids, rebuilds aren’t easy; most last longer than a few years. And when the Penguins fall, they will fall hard because they’re nothing in the pipeline.

And lastly, I have no answer. Perfectly summed up, Robert:

ANSWER: Robert, from everything I’ve heard from our sources, Granlund has a negative trade value. The trade was viewed worse in some hockey circles than in Penguins’ Twitter. That’s not an exaggeration. Hextall was slaughtered in the industry for that one.

Also, Carter has a 35+ contract. They can’t buy him out, nor does it matter if he retires or plays in Switzerland. The cap hit is 100%. The Penguins can only save money on it by trading him.