There has been a lot of NHL scouts in the press box during the last two Pittsburgh Penguins games. The usual smattering of scouts was present at the Penguins first two home games. There are a couple of local and regional scouts who typically show up. But the last two games have seen a big turnout.
Previously unreported, following the injury to defenseman Justin Schultz, there were nine scouts in the Penguins pressbox last Tuesday, when the Penguins played Vancouver. Despite reported comments from Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford indicating the Penguins would deal with their defensive issues “in-house”, that doesn’t necessarily stop the vultures from circling.
The Los Angeles Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers (Rick Kehoe, local), Winnipeg Jets, Colorado Avalanche, Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins, and the Toronto Maple Leafs (who were the Penguins next opponent).
Winnipeg and Boston were next up for Vancouver, as well.
New Jersey and the Penguins have a couple of games on the schedule in a few weeks.
According to Chris Johnston, four teams sent two scouts to Toronto, Thursday, for the Penguins-Toronto contest.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 18, 2018
Toronto has their own roster issue as emerging prolific scorer and RFA, William Nylander has yet to agree to a contract for this season and trade rumors are percolating.
The teams which scouted both games are New Jersey, Tampa Bay, and the New York Rangers.
New Jersey has an extra right-handed defenseman, Ben Lovejoy. The Rangers have a pair of extra righties, Adam McQuaid, and 2014 first-round pick Anthony DeAngelo who has been a healthy scratch for three of the Rangers first five games this season.
The Penguins may have chased a few vultures away with a flawless performance against Toronto, Thursday. Also, don’t read too much into the attending scouts list. A trade this early in the season is extremely rare, and there has been no credible trade chatter heard by Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s reporters or by industry sources. But the scouts are an interesting note to watch as the season progresses.