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Make Some Trades to Improve Penguins? Not So Fast



Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel

Four weeks have passed since Ron Hextall was fired as general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and there’s been no indication that his successor will be named in the immediate future.

But no matter who gets the job or when the announcement is made, the new GM will be given a mandate to transform the Penguins into a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

Whether that’s a realistic objective can be debated, but when Fenway Sports Group executives met with reporters after Hextall, president of hockey operations Brian Burke and assistant GM Chris Pryor were fired on April 14, they made it clear that ownership’s objective is to contend for a championship next spring.

“Our goal is to compete for the Stanley Cup every year,” Dave Beeston, co-head of FSG Sports Management, told that press conference.

Constructing a roster capable of doing that in 2023-24 will be a daunting, if not impossible, challenge for the new GM, and presumably would entail a number of significant personnel changes.

Making major trades that work out as planned is difficult enough, but Hextall’s replacement will face an added complication: Nearly all of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ most prominent players have some form of a no-movement or no-trade clause in their contracts.

Players are allowed to waive those, of course, but have no obligation to do so, which means they have at least some measure of control over where they could be sent.

(Such clauses have to be negotiated into contracts, and teams — especially those with severe salary-cap stresses — sometimes offer them in return for a reduction in what the player in question is paid.)

Here, per, is a look at the Penguins whose deals have at least one year remaining and contain a no-movement or no-trade clause:

Jeff Carter ($3.125 million cap hit) — No-movement. That means he can’t be traded, waived or exposed in an expansion draft without his permission.

Sidney Crosby ($8.7 million) — No-movement. Same as Carter, although there’s not much chance the Penguins would be interested in trading, waiving or exposing him in an expansion draft. Or parting with him in any other manner that might come along.

Jake Guentzel ($6 million) — Modified no-trade. He can identify 12 clubs to which he would not accept a trade.

Kris Letang ($6.1 million) — No-movement, with a modified no-trade that takes effect July 1, 2026. Beginning then, he can identify 10 teams to which he could not be traded. (Before that, he would have to approve any deal.)

Evgeni Malkin ($6.1 million) — No-movement.

Jeff Petry ($6.25 million) — No-movement, with a modified no-trade. Petry can name 15 teams to which he cannot be traded.

Rickard Rakell ($5 million) — Modified no-trade. He can name eight teams to which he would not accept a trade.

Bryan Rust ($5.125 million) — No-movement.

Four Pittsburgh Penguins players whose contracts are up this summer also had restrictive clauses in their agreements, and presumably will seek one in any future deals, wherever they might sign as free agents.

They are forwards Jason Zucker (10-team no-trade) and Nick Bonino (5-team no-trade) and defensemen Brian Dumoulin (10-team no-trade) and Dmitry Kulikov (8-team no-trade).