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Penguins Pushing Hard for Chiarot; How Trade Deadline is Shaping Up

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Ben Chiarot, NHL trade, Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens

Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ron Hextall analyzed the NHL trade market as waiting for someone to make the first move and set the market values. Hextall made his comment on Friday. On Monday, the Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks obliged.

Colorado acquired, or Anaheim traded (pending your point of view), tough defenseman Josh Manson. Anaheim ate 50% of Manson’s $4.1 million salary in exchange for prospect defenseman Drew Helleson and a 2023 second-rounder.

“It’s hard to gauge right now because there hasn’t been a lot done. Typically the first deal that happens sets the markets to a degree. Now, but it’s hard to say, I think there was quite a few sellers,” Hextall said on Friday. “The East, I mean, it’s not typically like this where there’s such a gap between the playoff teams and non playoff teams at this point. It’s typically closer. So I think there’s maybe a few more sellers, but I think there’s also a lot of people who are up against a cap or makes it difficult to finding a fit.”

That was Friday when Hextall addressed the media and the NHL trade deadline.

Also, on Tuesday, a source with direct knowledge, told the Hockey Now network that the Penguins were pushing hard for Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot. That admission came a couple of days after a rival Eastern Conference source told PHN that Pittsburgh Penguins management was very high on Chiarot.

Get more from Montreal Hockey Now on the Ben Chiarot situation. Stick tap to Jimmy Murphy of the Hockey Now Network.

The reaction to the Manson deal has been mixed, which probably means it was a fair trade. However, past NHL trade markets would have likely yielded a higher return. A prospect who was a 2019 second-rounder and is probably three years away isn’t a super fantastic, oh wow, sort of haul. Further, Anaheim had to eat half of Manson’s salary to get the deal done.

In fairness, our colleague Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now called Helleson, “a stud. He’ll play against (Colorado) for 10-15 years.”

This season, Manson had nine points (4-5-9) in 45 games. No, his game isn’t about offense. It’s about defense. He has 116 hits and 45 blocks, and is an even player on a team with a negative goal differential.

Manson is a second-pair defenseman who plays about 20 minutes per game.

If Hextall was correct and the first trade sets the market, how does that affect the Pittsburgh Penguins and their NHL trade deadline plans?

First, we should note Elliotte Friedman’s reporting. According to the Sportsnet ace, Hextall has mostly pulled back from talks with the Vancouver Canucks, who wanted one of the Penguins’ young defensemen, John Marino or Marcus Pettersson. Friedman also said the pullback resulted from salary cap unknowns for next season (i.e. Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang).

The Manson trade negatively affects the Penguins deadline because the Penguins only have defensemen to offer. Sure, they have their first-round pick, and more than a few of my colleagues have offered that as tribute to the trade gods, but the reality is Hextall will not give up such a precious asset for anything less than a precious return.

Manson and John Marino are not dissimilar in usage. While Marino’s game is more puck movement and steady presence, Manson’s is sandpaper and steady. Both are 6-foot-3, second-pair, right-side defensemen.

A good prospect and a second-rounder IF the trading team eats some salary. Yikes.

Pettersson is a LHD, which by market forces instantly makes him a little less valuable than a right-sider. His salary just over $4 million made him less attractive still, and his recent demotion out of the Penguins’ top-six will deter some trade calls but perhaps invite others looking for a bargain.

A solid season has made Pettersson a viable trade chip. Jim Rutherford pulling the strings for another organization further enhances the possibility, but Hextall seems to have cooled.

Chiarot recently played the right side in front of a packed house of Canadiens fans and scouts. The Canadiens have been  rejuvenated team under new coach Martin St. Louis and Chiarot a big contributor.

On the surface, the ability to deal away a defenseman such as Pettersson, or Marino, seems inexorably linked to acquiring a stay-home grinder like Chiarot.

Now the market is set. Six days to go.

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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 hope they add Ben!!! Dan do you think the pens will add off the radar middle 6 forward say like namestikov from Detroit? He slots anywhere fast gritty a little bit of hands?

Doug Ukish
Doug Ukish
2 months ago

Chiarot scratched for tonight’s game against Yotes

Last edited 2 months ago by Doug Ukish
Paul
Paul
2 months ago

I’m all in on Chiarot even as a rental, although I would be agreeable to a short-term extension at $4 mil per or thereabouts. The guy checks all the boxes except age.

Last edited 2 months ago by Paul
Paul
Paul
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Disclaimer: Would not give up a first- and third-rounder for Chiarot as the Canadiens reportedly want, however. A second-rounder and a second-tier player would be reasonable if he’s open-minded about a longer stay here.

Last edited 2 months ago by Paul
Ethan
Ethan
2 months ago

If you can move 4 million out–aka Pettersson to Canucks–seems like nice guy and teammate and is occasionally physical but more oft a bit of a bowling pin–and bring in Chiarot from Habs for stretch–you do it. If you don’t resign next season–that is 4 mill more for free agents! I still feel like trade stuff is being downplayed yet somehow Flower sneaks in.

Dean
Dean
2 months ago

Best trade is no trade based on the article.

William Maloni
William Maloni
2 months ago
Reply to  Dean

Hextall hasn’t displayed the cahones to make a deal like that. Wish he would.

BocaMarine
BocaMarine
2 months ago
Reply to  William Maloni

Go back and look at the magic he pulled in Philly to get them out of cap hell and a depleted farm system. And it may not come down to cahones; other GMs know he’s in a tough situation and will certainly have unreasonable demands. Can’t pull off a major deal without a willing dance partner.

Kurt
Kurt
2 months ago
Reply to  Dean

Ok?

Jason.C
Jason.C
2 months ago

Ben Chiarot scratched might he be heading to Pitt soon? It would be awesome if the included Arturi Lehkonen in the deal somehow

Fredrick
Fredrick
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason.C

I like Lehkonen, but he is a LW. I feel we need a RW to fill the 2nd spot. I do like the thought of Anderson or Gallagher (with cap retained) in the RW spot.

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

I thought Zucker could play RW?

Jason.C
Jason.C
2 months ago

Canes are pushing hard for Chiarot too..

Kurt
Kurt
2 months ago

Even if Hextall had a definite trade in place , he wouldn’t give his hand away yet there is still time left for them to make some very interesting trade talks could actually still go down ? Also I bet you if a team went to Ron H. With the right package in an event where the pens could get help and easing the cap situation a little is possible and with Kris Letang and his agent are wanting more money and term? Letang is good but not that consistently good and gets undressed by bigger more physical player’s and… Read more »

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