The Pittsburgh Penguins trade rumors are dying or should just about be dead. The Penguins dipped a toe into the NHL free-agent waters as other GMs gotta running start off the diving board for a cannonball, but Penguins GM Ron Hextall was otherwise pleased with his get and seemed to be more pleased with his new college free agent goalie.
This is a different era for the Penguins. I’m watching a bit more before I complete my analysis. I know many of you aren’t happy, but I’m waiting on one more piece of the puzzle to get a clearer picture of the coming direction.
Those pesky Marc-Andre Fleury – Pittsburgh Penguins NHL trade rumors are dead, for now. Expect them to be like Michael Myers and just keep coming back. There will be another round of NHL trade chatter surrounding Fleury as he decides if Chicago is acceptable. For what it’s worth–I think he will. Chicago is a good young team getting its captain Jonathan Toews back, and Fleury will be “the guy.”
*Hextall said clearly that he expects Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith back next season, “those guys did a good job for us.” In his post-madness presser, Hextall also said he was surprised by the prices on Day 1 of the NHL free-agent frenzy. However, he said McGinn was at the top of their list of players they thought they could afford. My inference is the Day 1 ferocity pushed the Pittsburgh Penguins into action, and they probably spent a few more dollars on McGinn, but they couldn’t wait. My takeaways from Hextall’s press conference, including his comment on Jarry/DeSmith and the full video.
You may have missed it yesterday, as I buried it in the bottom of the Fleury column, but the Fanatics Brand wholesaler in Chicago is already taking preorders for autographed Fleury Blackhawks merchandise.
*The Penguins did sign UFA grinder Brock McGinn. McGinn isn’t “big,” but he’s a player who brings energy, grit and doesn’t fear the net. The Penguins signed McGinn to a four-year deal with a $2.75 million AAV.
*Hextall also snagged UMass national championship goalie Filip Lindberg. The organization’s goalie pipeline is thin, at least in North America. Emil Larmi was non-qualified and back in Finland to resume his professional career. Lindberg, a 6-foot-1 netminder coincidentally from Finland, was a beast at UMass with an extraordinary number of shutouts and a national championship ring.
*Now-former Penguins defenseman Cody Ceci bolted for a hefty contract in Edmonton, Frederick Gaudreau got $1.2 million from Minnesota, and even Maxime Lagace got a deal in Tampa Bay. The Penguins lost those UFAs.
*Mike Sullivan was named head coach of Team USA for the 2022 Beijing Olympics. He expects NHL’ers to play.
Ron Hextall made another familial hire on Wednesday. He hired Director of Player Personnel Chris Pryor’s son, Nick Pryor, to be the Pittsburgh Penguins Director of Amateur Scouting.
Pryor, 30, will oversee Pittsburgh’s amateur scouting efforts in both North America and Europe. He and his staff will report to assistant general manager Patrik Allvin. Allvin served as the Penguins’ most recent director of amateur scouting from 2017-20 before being promoted to assistant general manager.
The St. Paul, Minnesota native joined the Penguins after spending the last eight seasons as an amateur scout with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Hextall also announced that European Scout and Liason Al Santilli would be moving on.
There is far too much going on around the rest of the league to do a links column today. We would have 200 stories.
But some “highlights.”
Vegas: The Golden Knights had a hole burning in their pockets and quickly spent the Fleury savings and went over the cap again.
The New Jersey Devils splashed major cash on Dougie Hamilton–$9 million per season.
Colorado: The Avalanche paid up, BIG TIME, to get a goalie. They signed captain Gabriel Landeskog but lost Philip Grubauer to Seattle Kraken via free agency. So, GM Joe Sakic got fleeced–a top prospect, a No. 1 pick, and a conditional third-pick–but he got an equal starting goalie from Arizona in a quickly depleted market.
No, I have no idea how teams were allowed to sign or even talk to players before noon. That “open talks” window was abolished in the last CBA. The horses were out of the barn, and things were rolling by 10 a.m.
Boston was going wild yesterday. Watching Jimmy Murphy and Joe Haggerty crush the coverage for Boston Hockey Now was fun.
Here’s the FULL Day 1 blog from Sportsnet, which I found to be the best of the bunch.
Our top story tonight, Pittsburgh Penguins Marc-Andre Fleury NHL trade rumors are still dead.
I’m compiling a list of remaining UFAs the Pittsburgh Penguins can watch. Yes, Erik Gudbranson is still out there, but if I harp on that any more than I have, his agent might send me campaign buttons.
And a huge thank you. We’ve had about 1 million people come to the National Hockey Now sites this week, already. Over 100,000 people a day are viewing our Pittsburgh Penguins coverage. As our sites get more established, our readership, subscribers, and reach keep growing. We’ve come a long way from me writing spirited analysis every night at 3 a.m. after I got home from a 10p-2a radio show on 93-7 the Fan, but then reporting to my sales job by 8 a.m.
I didn’t get to sleep much then. I sleep even less now. NEVER tell me the odds.
As a thank you–Here’s a $10 off sale for PHN+. Get a full year for just $19.99. THANK YOU!