It will happen. Where or when, Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ron Hextall does not yet know, but the Penguins defensemen are now officially on the NHL trade block. Hextall did not go the route of Vegas Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon, who seemingly gave up and shockingly dumped a pair of valuable players for nothing. Johnny Gaudreau shocked the hockey world with a late swerve out of the tri-state area and to Columbus. The Ottawa Senators are going for it, the Washington Capitals got a goalie, and the Philadelphia Flyers faceplanted.
Vincent Trocheck and Louis Domingue went to the New York Rangers. Technically, Domingue will be their third goalie. Still, after Jaro Halak’s Boston tenure, I don’t think Halak has much left and expect to see Domingue eating spicy pork on Broadway (though MSG is actually on 31st St.).
And Montreal Canadiens GM Kent Hughes postponed his presser because of an impending Jeff Petry trade. Still waiting!
Sometimes I write sentences in ways that I know you’ll enjoy. Philadelphia Flyers faceplanted. We’ll come back to that.
I can’t possibly fit all of the news into the Daily today. I did a couple thousand words of news and commentary in real-time on Wednesday during the NHL free agent frenzy. You can get the NHL free agent frenzy recap here which ended when the Penguins signed Jan Rutta, and the Penguins stirred the NHL trade block.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: It’s a good signing. Jan Rutta is 6-foot-4, well over 200 pounds. He’s won a pair of Stanley Cups with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He can protect the front of the net (though not a bulldozer). He’s also the ninth Penguins NHL defenseman. More on Rutta and the Pittsburgh Penguins situation.
Yep, Hextall admitted the team would not begin next season with nine defensemen. Cue the NHL trade rumors, though you can stop overselling Jim Rutherford’s lust for acquiring a Penguins d-man in exchange for J.T. Miller. Not even Playstation would approve that trade. Prepare for a Penguins trade.
Matter of factly, at the end of his press conference, Ron Hextall tamped down the chatter of the Penguins signing defensive forward Johan Larsson but broke the news they just signed former Penguins winger Josh Archibald.
The Pittsburgh Penguins added depth that will probably play for the WBS Penguins, including third goalie Dustin Tokarski.
Drake Caggiula, too.
PHN+: We circled five low-cost free agent wingers to watch. Two signed, including Brenden Lemieux, for less than $1.5 million, but three are still available. NHL free agents.
And–I laid out the case that both Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins succumbed to emotion. I think Hextall specifically countered my contention when he called negotiations cordial. Still, the Penguins included a dangerous fourth year on Malkin’s contract that could hamstring them if Malkin doesn’t fulfill it. More on the Malkin contract and the Penguins salary cap ramifications.
We were busy bees on Wednesday. It culminated three days of coverage in which more than 250,000 of you stopped by to read. THANK YOU!
Washington Capitals & Metro Division:
Vegas Hockey Now: Embarrassing. In successive offseasons, GM Kelly McCrimmon traded Marc-Andre Fleury for nothing and dumped more talent on Wednesday. The Golden Knights simply tossed Max Pacioretty and Dylan Coghlan. Traded them for “future considerations” to the Carolina Hurricanes. That’s bad news for the Penguins because Carolina got better, and it didn’t cost anything. Golden Knights trade.
Washington Hockey Now: It was a HUGE day for the Capitals. They may have fixed their goalie problems when they signed Stanley Cup-winning goalie Darcy Kuemper. Then they acquired a player I really like but who stumbled in Ottawa–Connor Brown. A big day for the Washington Capitals.
New York Post: Vincent Trocheck signed with the New York Rangers. So, too, did Jaroslav Halak, Louis Domingue, and more.
Philly: Yep, the Flyers faceplanted. They whiffed. No Gaudreau. But the Flyers look ready to tank and get the first-overall pick next season. Sam Carchidi did not spare the feelings of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Sportsnet: It shocked everyone. “Is this a simulation?” Johnny Gaudreau was supposed to go to Philly, but the Flyers refused to package a first-round pick with James van Riemsdyk, so a salary dump trade never took place. Then Gaudreau considered his options and took a barrel full of cash from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
San Jose Hockey Now: Who else will San Jose trade? Tomas Hertl? Erik Karlsson? Those pesky Carolina Hurricanes–they traded Tony DeAngelo last week. Wednesday, they acquired Brent Burns from the San Jose Sharks.
NHL Trade Chatter, Free Agents, News & National Hockey Now:
Montreal Hockey Now: Sources told our boys at Montreal Hockey Now that Kent Hughes delayed and postponed his press conference because he’s working on three potential Jeff Petry deals. There’s an impending Montreal Canadiens trade.
Calgary: The Flames made the best offer, actually. It was OVER $10 million, but Gaudreau passed. Now what?! What is Plan B for the Calgary Flames?
Perhaps they need Plan 9 from Outer Space?
Sportsnet: The Ottawa Senators had a great week. They are MUCH better today than a week ago, especially after landing hometown boy Claude Giroux.
Sportsnet Edmonton: Here come the Oilers. They re-signed Evander Kane at the 11th hour and snagged a legit goalie, Jack Campbell. Look out, Colorado. The Oilers solidified.
Boston Hockey Now: Interesting– Patrice Bergeron still hasn’t signed his contract. He’s still “reflecting.” OK? Boston Bruins surprise.
Detroit: Steve Yzerman used $19.9 million to make a much better team. David Perron was the icing on the cake. Andrew Copp, Ville Husso, Ben Chiarot and more. The Detroit Red Wings will be competitive.