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‘Couple Too Many,’ Hextall Confirms Penguins Trying to Trade Defensemen

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Ron Hextall, NHL trade

CRANBERRY — The Pittsburgh Penguins signed Jan Rutta to a three-year deal with a $2.75 million AAV on Wednesday. The big right-hander is a steady middle-pairing defenseman with two Stanley Cup rings in the last three years courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The NHL trade market rightfully stirred.

After signing P.O Joseph to an NHL contract this week, in addition to Mark Friedman and Chad Ruhwedel last season, Hextall has amassed nine NHL defensemen.

“That’s a couple too many,” Hextall admitted.

How Hextall escapes his trap and uses the NHL trade market is a matter of conjecture. He could take the easy route and simply put Mark Friedman through waivers as the Philadelphia Flyers did early in Hextall’s Penguins tenure. Hextall pounced, just as would another team should Hextall do the same.

Hextall could hope for a bit of compensation for third-pairing defenseman Chad Ruhwedel, whose steady albeit quiet game was solid in his first season as an NHL regular at age 31.

But neither of those moves would free up significant cap space.

With Kris Letang on a new six-year deal, John Marino in the second of a six-year $26.4 million deal, Marcus Pettersson in the second of a five-year deal with a $4.025 million AAV, and veteran Brian Dumoulin in the final year of a six-year contract which also pays north of $4 million, the Penguins have some meaty contracts on the blue line.

But not necessarily easily moveable options.

“… We have nine defensemen. That’s a couple too many,” Hextall said. “If we could move a defenseman maybe for a forward, something like that, or if we could move a defenseman for futures, those are the types of things that we’ll be looking at. I don’t know when or where…”

That doesn’t mean the Penguins fanbase hasn’t started devising trades for Mr. Hextall to consider, especially with the Vancouver Canucks. Pie in the sky dreams have fixated local boy-made-good, J.T. Miller, who is currently playing in the summer league at the UPMC Lemieux Complex.

Miller had 99 points last season and one more season with a $5.25 million cap hit. He’s been the apple of every NHL trade rumor for months, but the Penguins don’t have the pieces to get that deal done, no matter how important it is that every player come home. The Penguins aren’t even in that ballpark.

But the Pittsburgh Penguins will do something.

“We’re certainly not going to have nine (defensemen) on our opening roster. So that’s a fair assumption. I don’t know where that’s all going. Sometimes you sit there and wait till something moves before you sign the guy. But we felt like we wanted to get a little bit heavier on the back end,” Hextall said. “We feel Jan is a very sound penalty killer, a real solid guy to play with, really with any left-hander on our team. So we feel like he’s a good addition to our team. We feel like we got better and added a little bit of a girth that we need in front of the net in penalty-killing situations.”

And Rutta only costs $2.75 million AAV. Marino, Pettersson, and Dumoulin all cost above $4 million. It’s not hard to see the pool from which Hextall would like to deal. However, the NHL trade market is a bit clogged. On Wednesday, the Vegas Golden Knights sacrificed Max Pacioretty and Dylan Coughlin for nothing.

They were traded for future considerations.

That’s a pair of talented, valuable players coughed up for a promise to pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. That’s Vegas GM Kelly McCrimmon’s second salary dump for nothing. He also put Marc-Andre Fleury on the NHL trade block for the low, low price of nothing last summer.

So, it’s not so easy to move salary. Vegas couldn’t get a return on top-shelf talent. Hextall may find himself in a similar situation, especially since he has nine defensemen, and every GM knows he can’t feasibly hang onto them all.

The NHL trade chatter will continue. As will Hextall’s work. For the moment, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ blue line with Rutta is better than before. Now, we’ll see if it can be better without someone.

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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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Wasnt
30 days ago

Hornquist for Petterson. Your welcome

James
James
30 days ago

Is this going in the direction of a defenseman and change for Larsson?

Ed Andrews
Ed Andrews
30 days ago
Reply to  James

MArino, Petersen or Zucker or maybe Dumo, Burke and Hexxy were not happy with the def – maybe Marino, Zucker and Draft picks for JT (can Wish) wasent happy with Kap but he was cheap for now

Ed Andrews
Ed Andrews
30 days ago

they could still trade Marino and Zucker and draft picks to get JT miller, which will help for the impending rebuild, also moving petersen, depending on the health of Dumo he is still a good dman, resign Boyle, and hopefully they are going to put POJ out on the Def as well

Piero
Piero
30 days ago
Reply to  Ed Andrews

Vancouver don’t have cap space at all, and can’t take on 9.9 million (Marino, Zucker) for a 5.25 million guy.
Nor can they add 8.425 million (Marino & Pettersson) for that same player.

Forward thinker
Forward thinker
30 days ago
Reply to  Piero

No, but if the took Poolman or Dickenson as part of the deal the money would work for Marino and PeterssonThe Canucks would then likely try to trade another D out.

Terry
Terry
29 days ago
Reply to  Piero

How about a three ream trade. Van wants a right def. Marino, A hiht end prospect ( trade another def with another team) and next years 1st.?

Forward thinker
Forward thinker
29 days ago
Reply to  Terry

I think a rated way deal could definitely work

Paul
Paul
30 days ago

“‘Couple too many’, Hextall confirms . . .” To outbid himself for Malkin, yeah, Hexie had a couple too many, all right.

Cal
Cal
30 days ago
Reply to  Paul

Hahahaha.. agree or not, that’s funny!

Paul
Paul
30 days ago
Reply to  Cal

Nice to know that somebody has a sense of humor around here . . .

BocaMarine
BocaMarine
30 days ago
Reply to  Paul

Just curious, how did he outbid himself?

Paul
Paul
30 days ago
Reply to  BocaMarine

Did not have to offer a fourth season except to kiss his boo-boo. There was no market for a 36-year-old has-been with two bad knees who played an average of 43 games over the last three seasons. The Rangers are the only other team reported to have made an offer, and it was for three seasons.

Last edited 30 days ago by Paul
Ujn Hunter
30 days ago
Reply to  BocaMarine

Pay no attention to the village idiot.

Bob
Bob
30 days ago

Sorry, Dan. I just don’t like this article. How about some educated speculation on what the Pens CAN do, instead of all the info on what they can’t do. Yes, the trade market is bogged down. Yes, they have meaty contracts on their blue line. We get it. Surely, Hextall isn’t indiscriminately adding more defensemen with no plan on what to do with them and the ones he already has. So, maybe JT Miller is out of the question for the Pens (although I’m not ready to say that’s true, but rather “conjecture” as you say). The other day you… Read more »

Forward thinker
Forward thinker
30 days ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

There is definitely a trade that could get Miller. It would start with Marino and a first rounder. From there it would depend on who else goes each way. If Poolman or Dickenson was swapped for Pettersson as part of the deal with a second going to the Canucks, I think a discussion could be had.

Forward thinker
Forward thinker
29 days ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

Not really. Vancouver ends up with Miller, Pettersson, a first and second. Pittsburg gets Miller and Dickenson/ Poolman. Minor piece may need to be added to make it work.

Forward thinker
Forward thinker
30 days ago
Reply to  Bob

You do list some pieces the Canucks would want to make the trade. Marino would be a must and a first would be a must. Pettersson could be of interest if Dickenson or Poolman went back. Likely it would take another pick to the Canucks.A second if the first is late or a third if it is a high first pick.

hockeyfan68
hockeyfan68
30 days ago

Dan Kingerski, do you see any world where Andrej Palat could sign, since we are dumping some D, would there be enough room? he would be a much better option than Zucker.

Rich Filardi
Rich Filardi
30 days ago
Reply to  hockeyfan68

I had that thought today- that would be freaking great!

Irish Hammer
Irish Hammer
30 days ago
Reply to  Rich Filardi

You guys appear frustrated with Dan’s article. My opinion is he might be very accurate with Miller trade. Rutherford hates the Penguins. He will try to rape the Penguins. These other GMS are in a different league. They’ll get salary dumps. This team calls 180 Archibald grit? This is what you wanted. Can’t wait to play

Forward thinker
Forward thinker
30 days ago
Reply to  Irish Hammer

I think there is a earl to be made. Love and hate has nothing to do with it….

Dave Heyl
30 days ago

Totally underwhelmed & disappointed on same old situation.
stale & predictable keeping the band together.

Irish Hammer
Irish Hammer
30 days ago
Reply to  Dave Heyl

You got what you wanted. You wanted same team, you got it. The moves was made. Not younger, bigger, tougher.

Paul
Paul
30 days ago
Reply to  Dave Heyl

There is no place here for that kind of negativity, Buster!

Shawn Dragon
Shawn Dragon
30 days ago

I’d rather surrender minimal picks and prospects and get Garland from Vancouver. They need defenceman and we have plenty, and a trade would result in Van freeing up a bit of space as well. The pens get a great top 6 winger signed for a while unlike miller which would be throwing everything for 1 year.

CPA
CPA
30 days ago

We all know Pens team & prospects we don’t have. The issue is what GMRH wants to trade Petterson or Dumoulin for Forward/prospects and what the market wants Marino or Joseph for forwards/prospects is two different things. GMRH needs to look at teams that are fringe playoff who need a stay at home defender to pair up with a offensive defender work that angle.

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[…] Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ron Hextall confirmed that he’s trying to move one of the crowded stable of […]

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[…] Penguins general manager Ron Hextall said he’s trying to move a defenseman or […]

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[…] In Pittsburgh, there is some grumbling among fans and media that the Penguins are trying to live in the past too much with some of their recent, long-term signings. But there may be some other deals in the works for Ron Hextall (Pittsburgh Hockey Now) […]

Bob
Bob
30 days ago

So will Burke’s style of size and grit ever be addressed here in Pittsburgh?

Paul
Paul
30 days ago
Reply to  Bob

The only time to believe Burkie is in the buffet line, which is quite often. Take a look at his track record, brah. #BigBlowhard

Curt Lindner
Curt Lindner
29 days ago
Reply to  Bob

Burke did address the grit issue. Archibald can pressure D men, go between their legs and center the puck for the 24 MIL LAZY GUY WHO IS STILL AT CENTER ICE TAKING A PENALTY WHEN THE REST OF THE TEAM IS IN THE O ZONE! #JERKBURKE

trackback

[…] pittsburgh penguins General manager Ron Hextall confirmed he’s trying to move one of the overcrowded stables of […]

Forward thinker
Forward thinker
30 days ago

Actually, the Pens have the pieces to get Miller. It starts with Marino, includes a First, a second and a pospect/ second Defensman. It may even involve taking Dickensen or Poolman instead of giving up a prospect.

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[…] The Penguins are trying to move a couple of defensemen (Pittsburgh Hockey Now) […]

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[…] that he’s carrying “a couple too many” defensemen. Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s Dan Kingerski included John Marino among his suggested list of trade candidates. The 25-year-old carries a $4.4 million […]

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[…] Ron Hextall may take another direction and dump salary, which could mean some established Penguins are on the way out. The most logical candidate here is blueliner Brian Dumoulin. In the final year of a six-year deal […]

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[…] Ron Hextall may take another direction and dump salary, which could mean some established Penguins are on the way out. The most logical candidate here is blueliner Brian Dumoulin. In the final year of a six-year deal […]

trackback

[…] Ron Hextall may take another direction and dump salary, which could mean some established Penguins are on the way out. The most logical candidate here is blueliner Brian Dumoulin. In the final year of a six-year deal […]

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