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NHL Trade Deadline; Teams Scouting the Penguins, Who’s Available?

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NHL Trade, Pittsburgh Penguins, Robert Hagg

The NHL trade deadline is three weeks away. The Pittsburgh Penguins are fresh from a thrilling 1-0 win over division rival New York Rangers and a 3-2 comeback win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. A couple of solid defensive performances should make all involved feel better, especially after hanging goalie Tristan Jarry out to dry in the previous three games in which he gave up no less than four goals in each.

A couple of teams stand out as recently scouting the Penguins. The Buffalo Sabres AGM Jason Karmanos was in Pittsburgh for the last couple of Penguins home games. Since Karmanos didn’t work with much of the current Penguins front office, it’s unlikely it was a social call.

And, the Anaheim Ducks have been keeping tabs on the Penguins with scouts in Pittsburgh and again in Columbus on Sunday.

With the recent upper-body injury to Mike Matheson, which will keep him out week to week, the Penguins’ blue line also consists of two depth defenders. Chad Ruhwedel and now Mark Friedman, who stepped into the lineup for Matheson to fill the defense corps.

Friedman is playing well in his first two games, which may remove any urgency by Penguins GM Ron Hextall.

“He plays a simple game. He’s a good defender. He’s a good skater. He’s a real old guy. So he uses a skating ability, I think, you know, to win pucks and to defend. I thought he did a real nice job (Saturday),” head coach Mike Sullivan said.

Friedman was even better on Sunday. He had two shots on goal, five attempts, and one high-danger chance.

The Penguins defense corps has not been a problem this season, but it could be upgraded via the NHL trade market. Buffalo and Anaheim also need a lot of help to rebuild. Despite languishing at the bottom of the league for nearly a decade, only a few blue-chippers are on their way through the system.

The Buffalo Sabres assistant GM was at the last two Penguins home games, including Saturday. The Sabres have a pair of defensemen worthy of top-four minutes, but who would fit on any pairing.

Anaheim also has some rental pieces that could benefit the Penguins. Because they have played more games, Anaheim is two to eight points behind the Dallas Stars for the second wild-card position. A playoff charge is probably not in the cards, especially because they also trail the Edmonton Oilers. If they’re not throwing in the towel, perhaps the Ducks could also look for hockey talent to close that playoff gap.

Potential Penguins Targets, NHL Trade Deadline

Robert Hagg, LHD, Buffalo

Hagg, 26, is both young and cheap. The Swede will be an unrestricted free agent after his season, and Buffalo has no reason to let the former Philadelphia Flyers d-man walk without getting anything in return.

He carries an affordable $1.6 million salary-cap hit based on some struggles in Philadelphia but has been a solid defenseman for the Sabres. Hagg is a stay-home defenseman with a bit of size. He’s 6-foot-2, 204 pounds.

Hagg is in the mold of a Swedish defenseman. He takes care of his zone, isn’t a blazing skater (he’s not terrible), and will block shots with aplomb.

“Solid third-pairing guy. Blocks a lot of shots. Underrated player and a standup character guy. His best friend on the Flyers was fellow Swede Oscar Lindblom, and he really helped him through his cancer battle,” Philly Hockey Now’ Sam Carchidi told PHN.

Oh, and Ron Hextall was the Flyers AGM when they drafted Hagg. He would fit neatly on the third pairing with Chad Ruhwedel or possibly slot up with John Marino.

Price tag: A third-pairing lefty is likely a second, maybe third-rounder on the NHL trade market. However, Hagg’s affordable deal may bolster the price. Hagg would be a perfect fit for the Penguins as either depth or reliable top-six. He has a history with Hextall, he’s inexpensive, and Hextall seems to prefer smaller deals.

Colin Miller, RHD, Buffalo

Miller, 29, cost Buffalo a second and fifth-rounder in June 2019. His stock may be a bit higher right now, but he’s also a rental. The 6-foot-1, 199-pound offensive defenseman has been mired in the Buffalo malaise for a couple of years.

He can run a power play, move the puck, and add offense without sacrificing the position. He’s not physical but has a 41-point season on his resume (Vegas Golden Knights inaugural season).

He’s a tad expensive, at $3.85 million AAV, so the Penguins would need to move salary to make it happen. Miller is currently injured but will be back soon.

Josh Manson, RHD, Anaheim

Manson, 30, can move the puck. In the past, he’s put up decent offensive totals, but he’s a gruff defenseman. His contract with a $4.1 million AAV expires this season.

If Anaheim puts him on the NHL trade block, he will not be a cheap get but well worth it. If Miller is a second and fifth-rounder, Manson is more, and we’re getting into giving up a piece or two of the future.

Rickard Rakell, Winger, Anaheim

Hextall could be the latest to participate in the Penguins’ nearly annual telethon, “A winger for Malkin.” The team is probably a middle-six winger short, and a legit scoring threat would help.

Rakell, 28, makes $3,789,444 and has 25 points, including 14 goals in 44 games this season. His contract expires after the season. He doesn’t bring physicality or a grinding game, but perhaps he’s the finisher that Malkin needs.

It seems Rakell is mentioned in NHL trade rumors with the Penguins every season, maybe this is the year.

Darkhorse: Ryan Getzlaf. Rumor percolated last season that Getzlaf, a member of Brian Burke’s Stanley Cup-winning Ducks team in 2007, could take one more run at a Stanley Cup. He passed up that opportunity. Will he reject an offer to play for a Stanley Cup again? Would the Penguins have room for a right-handed center at the end of his career? Such a move could make Jeff Carter the “winger for Malkin.”

Getzlaf makes $3 million, so Anaheim would have to make concessions in return or eat salary. The 6-foot-3, 36-year-old center has 28 points but just three goals this season.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Jason.C
Jason.C
2 months ago

I wouldn’t really be wowed by any of these guys I don’t know if they would make much more of a difference for the cost! Hopefully it’s different players that what is listed here or with a different team. Personally I don’t think it would be wise to trade away picks for any of the guys here. I guess only time will tell? They need a element of physicality on offense and defense if they don’t address that they go out of the playoffs in one series or 2 you need it for the playoffs they are older and softer,… Read more »

Dean
Dean
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason.C

I agree; we are 8 or 9 strong on the D. Friedman, who can play L or R looked great the last 2 games. That was a pleasant surprise. With the 7 we have, plus Rikkola, Joseph, and even Lee will be plenty for a run.

Also, I would not touch the chemistry on this team.

I believe once they get Blueger and Zucker back, they will be even better.

Plus, Domingue is skating, and DeSmith is playing better.

Jason.C
Jason.C
2 months ago
Reply to  Dean

I agree with pretty much everything you have stated Lou Domingue can be a capable back up I trust him way more than Casey. Zucker I am not sold on he is not terrible but he is definitely not worth his price tag plus him and Geno lack chemistry

Kris
Kris
2 months ago
Reply to  Dean

No one named Crosby, Rust, Guentzel or Malkin is scoring. The defense is paper thin at best. Really, if Rikkola is playing, we might drop as far as 8th in the play off race. Sorry, but we need Manson and could use a winger. Kapanen, Legare and a 2nd Rounder for Manson and Deslauriers and they eat $2-million of Manson’s contract.

Jason.C
Jason.C
2 months ago
Reply to  Kris

No worth the price bud I didn’t say anything about rikkola that was Mark

Last edited 2 months ago by JcNorthStar
Irish Hammer
Irish Hammer
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason.C

They’ll get best again in 1st Rd. Older and softer. Hextall horrible hire.

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
2 months ago

Free Riikola!

Chris R
Chris R
2 months ago

So who on the Pens are these teams scouting? Or are they just looking to see if their pieces are a fit?

Fredrick
Fredrick
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris R

Just my assumption, but I assume Kap, ZAR, and Rodrigues all could be had for the right price. Also maybe Pettersson or Matheson (even though he is currently injured). Could be had for the right price. Manson only makes sense if they are replacing Letang immediately (which I could see us signing him this offseason). Rakell would be an interesting player to trade for. Maybe Kap and a pick going back. No thank you to anyone listed from Buffalo unless we are looking to dump cap space.

D1VE is Dumb
D1VE is Dumb
2 months ago
Reply to  Fredrick

What is the right price for Pettersson? A bag of pucks? His salary is a huge handicap for the Penguins. I would take any of the players Dan listed for Pettersson. Hell, I would even throw in a 3rd rounder to move his contract.

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
2 months ago
Reply to  Fredrick

I don’t think Matheson is going anywhere.

Tony C
Tony C
2 months ago

I think Sullivan said (of Friedman), “He’s a real mobile guy.”
not,He’s a real old guy.”
😉

Ethan
Ethan
2 months ago
Reply to  Tony C

Come on Tony don’t tread on the dreams of us real old guys. Let us just pretend for a moment that’s something that actually catches Sully’s eye so we can all fantasize about a comeback!

Tyler
Tyler
2 months ago

I don’t know about the Ducks, but the saying the Sabres have no blue-chippers on the way is just flat-out wrong. Hey have the top prospect pipeline in the NHL. They have two rookies in the AHL who at one point (before injuries) were both in the top-10 for points. They have arguably the best defenseman and goalie in college hockey, with Power and Levi. They also have three first round picks in this upcoming draft.

Whatever they got from Pittsburgh wouldn’t be among their top-10 to top-15 assets.

Steve B
Steve B
2 months ago

Except you forgot the ONE player who actually is being discussed according to my friend who works for TSN and others. Phil Kessel coming back. I wouldn’t want it but, it’s being looked into.

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[…] Plenty of NHL teams have been scouting the Pittsburgh Penguins ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline and that has our man in Pitt, Dan Kingerski, wondering what players […]

D1VE
D1VE
2 months ago

Rakell would be intriguing, and Malkin always seems to thrive with a pure sniper type of winger. Really was hoping it would be Kappy, but the eye test says otherwise unless he starts ripping shots again.

I wonder how many people are wrestling FGMJR’s phones away from him in Vancouver before he tries to get Allvin to bring Kappy and Zucker to the west. It’s a pipe dream, but seeing the Pittsburgh boy JT Miller come home would be amazing. (And expensive.)

…and yes, apparently I’m still dumb.

D1VE is Dumb
D1VE is Dumb
2 months ago
Reply to  D1VE

Good to see you here, and that you have a sense of humor.

Rob
Rob
2 months ago

I used to really enjoy speculative trade rumor articles like this. Hextall has taken the fun out of reading them. The chances that the penguins trade for the players mentioned, or any players is probably .0000005%.

So, you’re saying there is a chance?
-Lloyd Christmas

trackback

[…] The NHL trade deadline is three weeks away. The Pittsburgh Penguins are fresh from a thrilling 1-0 win over division rival New York Rangers and a 3-2 comeback win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. A couple of solid defensive performances should make all involved feel better, especially after hanging goalie Tristan Jarry out to dry in the previous three games in which he gave up no less than four goals in each. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now) […]

trackback

[…] Could the Pittsburgh Penguins acquire former Golden Knights Colin Miller at the trade […]

trackback

[…] Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Buffalo Sabres AGM Jason Karmanos has scouted the Pittsburgh Penguins final couple of residence video games. The Anaheim Ducks have been scouting Penguins of late as properly. […]

trackback

[…] Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Buffalo Sabres AGM Jason Karmanos has scouted the Pittsburgh Penguins final couple of residence video games. The Anaheim Geese have been scouting Penguins of late as properly. […]

Paul
Paul
2 months ago

Manson and Delauriers would address the grit shortage in one move. As a potential free agent, Manson could give the front office some wiggle room in the off-season, especially if Kapanen and/or Zucker are part of the deal.

Last edited 2 months ago by Paul
trackback

[…] Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Buffalo Sabres AGM Jason Karmanos has scouted the Pittsburgh Penguins final couple of residence video games. The Anaheim Geese have been scouting Penguins of late as effectively. […]

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