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Molinari: Enjoy Trade Deadline, But Keep it Real (+)



Ron Hextall, Pittsburgh Penguins

Let’s try this again: The Pittsburgh Penguins are not a legitimate contender for the Stanley Cup.

They aren’t at the moment, and won’t be after the NHL’s trade deadline passes at 3 p.m. Friday, regardless of whatever additional moves Ron Hextall does — or doesn’t — make between now and then.

Mikael Granlund won’t turn them into one. J.T. Miller couldn’t, either. Neither could Brock Boeser. Nor would Jakob Chychrun have.

The same applies to anyone else who’s turned up in the torrent of speculation in recent weeks, whether it’s a player in whom Hextall actually has a serious interest or one whose presence in such discussions is strictly the by-product of someone’s fertile imagination.

It was posited in this space last May that the Penguins’ window to challenge for a Cup has been closed for a while, and nothing has happened in the interim to change that sentiment.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with trying to upgrade the Penguins’ roster, although this probably is the worst time of year to do it, since prices tend to be highest as the deadline nears.

But if Hextall, who dealt Teddy Blueger and a second-round draft choice while adding Granlund Wednesday, does make a major trade, it should be for the long-term impact the player(s) being added could have, not solely because of what he/they could contribute this spring.

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