The Pittsburgh Penguins trade chatter took a sharp left turn on Saturday night. Rumor became report. Scouts popped up in a hotbed of NHL trade scuttle, and a source from a rival team expressed some expectation of the Penguins movement.
It’s going to be an exciting week. We’re now eight days from the gong show of the NHL trade deadline, and no one has yet made the first move to set the market or unclog the drain. Things are backing up, but more teams are falling out of playoff contention.
The Pittsburgh Penguins had a pair of scouts on hand to watch the Montreal Canadiens host the Seattle Kraken, including director of pro scouting Ryan Bowness.
A source from an Eastern Conference team told PHN to keep an eye on Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot. The 30-year-old d-man is a UFA this July, and the rebuilding Montreal Canadiens will most likely move him by the deadline. Interestingly, the source said Penguins President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke thought highly of the player.
(Editor’s note, the original story listed Chiarot at 34-years-old. The sentence was corrected).
Chiarot is 6-foot-3, 226 pounds, plays with jam, and a bit of offense. This season, he has 16 points, including seven goals. For context, Mike Matheson leads Penguins defensemen with eight goals.
Chiarot is naturally a LHD, but he played the right side on Saturday night against the Seattle Kraken. His cap hit is $3.5 million.
The rumored price tag for Chiarot: a first-round pick.
Instead, the rumors in the Montreal press box focused on gritty winger Artturi Lehkonen, not Chiarot. Lehkonen would fit Ron Hextall’s stated desire to add a winger who can score. He would also add a bit of sandpaper in the middle of the Penguins lineup.
The Washington Capitals were rumored (or should we say rumoured) to be sniffing around Lehkonen, as well.
I’m spitballing here, but what about Jordan Eberle of Seattle? Montreal hosted the Kraken on Saturday, after all. Eberle has two years remaining at $5.5 million AAV. We know he can score goals at PPG Paints Arena, and he’s a RW with finish. Eberle has 34 points (15-19-34) with Seattle this season but is a whopping minus-28.
Sounds like a perfect fit with Evgeni Malkin, eh?
Just spitballing, so don’t get too excited. We don’t like the rumored asking price on Chiarot, not even a little bit. So, if we’re wrong on Lehkonen, why not Eberle? I’m told our colleague Josh Yohe at the Athletic has mentioned third-liner Calle Jarnkrok, too.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Vancouver Canucks, NHL Trade Rumors
Hold onto your hats.
During his second intermission segment on Hockey Night in Canada, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the Vancouver Canucks are interested in John Marino. However, Friedman echoed PHN’s skepticism (Read: Penguins – Canucks Trade Rumors, What Makes Sense, What Doesn’t).
Of course, Vancouver Canucks President of Hockey Operations is former Penguins, GM Jim Rutherford. Vancouver GM Patrik Allvin is the Penguins’ former AGM, under Rutherford and Hextall.
Vancouver is looking for young defensemen.
“I don’t know if this is going to happen. First of all, the Penguins consider Marino a very good player,” Friedman said on the broadcast. “Secondly, it sounds like it has been difficult to get a match, so he’s a target, but I’m not convinced that’s going to occur.”
Vancouver AGM Derek Clancey was in Pittsburgh for the Penguins-Florida tilt last week. Marino was one of Rutherford’s most significant wins on the NHL trade market. As Marino completed his collegiate career at Harvard, the sixth-round pick refused an entry-level contract from the drafting team, the Edmonton Oilers. Rather than lose him without compensation, the Penguins acquired Marino for a sixth-round pick in the summer of 2019.
Marino signed with the Penguins and finished eighth in Calder Trophy voting in 2019-20. A year later, Rutherford dished a six-year, $26.4 million contract, which kicked in this season.
Marino has 18 points (1-17-18) in 59 games this season but is a minus-7. His contract runs through 2026-27.
As Pittsburgh Hockey Now noted several days ago, a trade may have more legs in the offseason because the Penguins do not have a top-four replacement on the right side.
Since a few of you (Ok, many of you) still keep tabs on the first cornerstone of the Pittsburgh Penguins 21st century Stanley Cup dynasty, Friedman has been tracking the interest and potential of a Marc-Andre Fleury trade out of Chicago.
Friedman said he believes Fleury will accept a trade if he can win a Stanley Cup. Colorado and Toronto were mentioned as possibles. Selfishly, I’m rooting for Washington. That would be an AMAZING story to cover if it happens.
If Washington has a chance to get out of Round One, it will be because their goalie stole a series. Right now, Washington would play Carolina in Round One as the second wild-card, but Carolina and Tampa Bay are within two points for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.