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Mack vs. Kingerski: Should the Penguins Protect Jeff Carter from Kraken?

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Pittsburgh Penguins Jeff Carter, Jared McCann

Welcome to the first of several debates here on Pittsburgh Hockey Now as our Editor-in-Chief Dan Kingerski will spar with sports journalists and talk show hosts (and probably everyone else, too). We’ll debate the pressing issues surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, including expansion draft, free agency, the NHL trade market, and all other topics that leap to the fore.

In the first debate, Dan squared off with 93-7 the Fan morning host Chris Mack. You can hear Mack with Colin Dunlap each weekday morning from 5:40 to 10. You can hear the show and segments in podcast form on the new Audacy app. 

Opening Statements:

Dan Kingerski: Our initial projections protected Jeff Carter. And why not? He scored 13 goals in 21 games, including the postseason, and was one of the Penguins best forwards in the playoffs.

The Penguins will protect five of their top-six forwards, excluding Jason Zucker (Crosby, Malkin, Guentzel, Rust, Kapanen are locks). Unfortunately, it gets far more tricky from there, and that dual mission of winning now and protecting the future collide. The Penguins can’t protect Jeff Carter and not lose Jared McCann or Brandon Tanev, who are more important to the future and pretty valuable now, too.

Carter, 36, looked like a player at the end of his run before the trade Penguins trade. There was talk of retirement. LA Kings head coach Todd McClellan, who is no fool, moved Carter out of the middle to RW. And that’s why Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis would pause, and the Penguins have to gamble by exposing Carter on Saturday.

Chris Mack: Ron Hextall, Brian Burke, and the Pittsburgh Penguins should have five of the seven forwards they’re protecting from the Seattle Kraken written in blood, never mind ink. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust, and Kasperi Kapanen are givens. From there, I’d add Brandon Tanev to the protected list. Finally, I’m ensuring I don’t lose any more versatility or experience than I have to, and I’m protecting Jeff Carter.

Rebuttal:

Kingerski: Recency bias. McCann is a 25-year-old, 20-goal scorer who is finally harnessing that nasty wrister. Tanev has become the beating heart of the Penguins in the Patric Hornqvist mold. And the most physical player in the lineup. The Penguins can’t lose one of those two players for a player who is almost certainly unable to continue that incredible pace. Teddy Blueger with Tanev and Zach Aston-Reese formed a formidable third line, though a little light on the scoresheet. It’s hard to imagine the meticulous Ron Francis taking a player who only has a couple of years left.

And—leaving McCann or Tanev exposed would guarantee the Seattle Kraken do not select Jason Zucker, thus not removing $5.5 million from the Penguins cap.

Mack: We agree that Tanev should be the sixth of seven protected forwards–which brings us back around to the Carter-McCann debate. It’s a great point that a 25-year old up-and-comer would be preferred over a 36-year old been-there/done-that veteran. But is McCann still up-and-coming? Or have we seen that when he’s at his best, it’s as a middle-six wing who will top out at 20 goals in his best season and that when he’s asked to play more of a two-way game as a third-line center he provides an entirely different element?

McCann’s finishing ability vanishes as he becomes hyper-focused on a 200-foot game. Jeff Carter has already proven he can do the same thing when both of the Pittsburgh Penguins two superstar centers are healthy. He can play a legitimate, 15-goal season and a 200-foot game as a third-line center. He can also jump up on a scoring wing in a pinch.

What it comes down to is Carter has proven his capabilities while there are still question marks about McCann. A team that believes it is still in a championship window should focus on proven commodities and not finger-crossing.

That means Carter over McCann.

Your Turn!

Sound off, PHN readers. Protect two of McCann, Tanev, and Carter. And comment below.

Should the Pittsburgh Penguins Protect Jeff Carter or Jared McCann?

  • McCann (47%, 304 Votes)
  • Carter (36%, 235 Votes)
  • Both--Expose Brandon Tanev Instead (17%, 107 Votes)

Total Voters: 646

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Stephen Powanda
Stephen Powanda
3 months ago

The future is now we need Carter and Tanev

jackw
jackw
3 months ago

I really liked the Carter addition. But you have to protect McCann.

JeffK
JeffK
3 months ago

Nothing againt Tanev but his contract should serve as protection. I’d offically protect Carter and McCann.

Brandon O
Brandon O
3 months ago

You have to protect McCann. His last 2 seasons have seen him develop into a top 6 scorer and his contract this season is a bargain. He is extremely valuable to the team this year, and is most likely to meet or improve his production out of the three. Take the gamble that Seattle will have better options then a soon to be 37 year old with 1 year left. We all watched Carter’s resurgance, but its unrealistic to expect him to play at that level again this season. He is valuable, but I think Seattle will bite on Zucker… Read more »

AnthonyB
AnthonyB
3 months ago

You have to protect McCann and assume Seattle will pass on Carter for the youth there after. It’s the best option to protect the most players.Tanev is the team spark plug and too important to the penalty kill. It’s a big finger cross because we win nothing without Carter.

Last edited 3 months ago by AnthonyB
Brandon O
Brandon O
3 months ago
Reply to  AnthonyB

The penalty kill was bottom 5 in the league, thats no reason to keep Tanev. Blueger is going to be protected, since they signed him today to a team friendly deal.The last spot comes down to Mccann or Carter, and Its an obvious choice to protect Mccann.

Dan Kingerski
Admin
3 months ago
Reply to  Brandon O

Not sure everyone would agree it’s a team-friendly deal. $2.2 is almost exactly in line with our projections.

Nick
Nick
3 months ago

Tanev’s contract sucks, Kraken aren’t taking him. Pens don’t have to worry about losing him but if they do, the Pens can reallocate those funds across the bottom 6 to get more bigger pants.

Lisa Nath
Lisa Nath
3 months ago

I think if they protect McCann then Seattle takes blueger which is also a big loss. Pens loosing a good player no matter how they form the list . I wish hextal would make a deal with them to take a certain player .

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[…] Mack vs. Kingerski: Should the Penguins Protect Jeff Carter from Kraken? – (Pittsburgh Hockey Now) […]

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[…] Pittsburgh: Will the Pittsburgh Penguins protect Jeff Carter in the expansion draft? The PHN debate series begins – our Dan Kingerski vs. notable sports radio hosts. Take the reader poll, too. Protect Carter, yeah or nay? […]

Bachinga
Bachinga
3 months ago

Carter McCann…no brainer and I think the Blueger signing was an enticement to take hi,…

Rory Steep
Rory Steep
3 months ago

They need a 4th option: don’t protect Tanev or Carter. Seattle is not likely interested in Carter as he likely only has one season left and if he isn’t happy, then he’d retire. It would be a waste of a pick. Tanev is an overpriced 4th line PK specialist that hits everything. He brings almost zero offense. Yes he is a heart and soul player, but if Sid, Geno, Jake, Rust and Tanger need Tanev, then the window is already slammed shut and nailed closed. If Seattle picks Tanev, it shouldn’t matter.

trackback

[…] Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Should the Pittsburgh Penguins protect Jeff Carter in the expansion draft? The PHN debate series begins — Me. vs. 93-7 the Fan’s Chris Mack. And take the reader poll, too. Protect Carter, yeah or nay? […]

Brian
Brian
3 months ago

Who the hell said expose Tanev??????

trackback

[…] Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Should the Pittsburgh Penguins protect Jeff Carter in the expansion draft? The PHN debate series begins — Me. vs. 93-7 the Fan’s Chris Mack. And take the reader poll, too. Protect Carter, yeah or nay? […]

Ujn Hunter
3 months ago

If the Kraken select 1 year of a 38 year old Carter then Ron Francis should be fired. Seattle is trying to set up their entire FRANCHISE, not a single year for a shot at the cup. Expose Carter because Ronnie FRANCHISE is not an idiot.

90sFanGoPens
90sFanGoPens
3 months ago

I would protect Blueger & Carter. I would definitely try to trade Zucker & McCann rather than lose one for nothing. I also would shop Matheson & MP since I’d leave both unprotected as well. We need our Centers and Blueger is too valuable to the team. Tanev is a nice player but his contract isnt the best and he’s replaceable. Hextall said he would protect Carter and he was our most clutch player & he’s playing on a bargain deal. McCann is inconsistent & Zucker is overpaid.

Penguinfan
Penguinfan
2 months ago

Hard decision glad I’m not making it. Really like what Carter brings. But not sure the chances are great he is selected. Seattle will probably want youth and who knows if Carter will play more than this season. Hate to say it but protect McCann and roll the dice.

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[…] If you missed Round One between PHN and 93-7, the Fan morning host Chris Mack, I won the battle when I convinced Mack the Penguins should protect Brandon Tanev, but I lost the war when the Penguins didn’t.  […]

trackback

[…] If you missed Round One between PHN and 93-7, the Fan morning host Chris Mack, I won the battle when I convinced Mack the Penguins should protect Brandon Tanev, but I lost the war when the Penguins didn’t.  […]

trackback

[…] If you missed Round One between PHN and 93-7, the Fan morning host Chris Mack, I won the battle when I convinced Mack the Penguins should protect Brandon Tanev, but I lost the war when the Penguins didn’t.  […]

trackback

[…] If you missed Round One between PHN and 93-7, the Fan morning host Chris Mack, I won the battle when I convinced Mack the Penguins should protect Brandon Tanev, but I lost the war when the Penguins didn’t.  […]

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