Connect with us

Trade Rumors

Latest Penguins Rumors with Gusev, Bjugstad Don’t Make Sense

Published

on

Sometimes I hear things which don’t comport with things I understand to be true. Sometimes what I’m told doesn’t jive with publicly stated goals. And so the latest batch of Pittsburgh Penguins rumors which have fans stirring has me just a little, or a lot, skeptical. You may also thank me as I’ve written this sentiment twice before and within 48 hours of each publishing, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford made a move, though his moves made sense.

The first of the Penguins rumors which are percolating in several fanbases across the NHL involves acquiring Nikita Gusev from the Vegas Golden Knights. Several fanbases think their team OR the Penguins will snatch the KHL MVP from Vegas.

It would be fair to say there is a little buzz in the Penguins organization about the possibility, too. Perhaps they get as excited by rumor mill sites as everyone else. But it doesn’t fit. Gusev would require something between $4-$6 million to sign. Even on the low end of the spectrum, the Penguins would need to deal two of the following: Bryan Rust, Jack Johnson, and Nick Bjugstad. Though we could toss Alex Galchenyuk on the list, too?

The Penguins would need to clear at least four million, make a deal with Vegas, AND then find enough money for Marcus Pettersson, Zach Aston-Reese and Teddy Blueger. What would the Penguins lineup look like after that? Here is one current iteration set against what it would it could look like with Gusev.

LWCRW
Jake GuentzelSidney CrosbyBryan Rust
Jason Zucker Evgeni MalkinKasperi Kapanen
Jared McCannJeff CarterFreddy Gaudreau
Zach Aston-Reese Teddy BluegerBrandon Tanev
  [table “36” not found /]

Another possibility is the Penguins also have to deal players like Blueger just to make it all work. The team could leave itself perilously thin.

Moving past that fear, there is a significant falloff in the third line with Gusev. Jared McCann’s offensive outburst and sparkplug play were from the wing, not the pivot. As a center, McCann is conservative, defensive and careful. On the wing, he went for it, with a smile on his face.

As a third line center, Nick Bjugstad controlled the play and the game. The goal results were not abundant but the possession and opportunities were. If Patric Hornqvist is back to his old self, that duo could both dominate play and post healthy offensive numbers.

With Gusev, is that lineup as tough to play against, or would Sullivan again have multiple defensive liabilities?

Also, we haven’t even factored what it would cost the Penguins to acquire Gusev. Vegas can’t take salary in return or they must take less salary than they send out. The Penguins have a first round pick and a couple of very interesting kids they snagged in the draft. Each has a high ceiling. Vegas GM George McPhee would be crazy to not demand the inclusion of one.

So, the Penguins would need to clear $7-$9 million in total to get Gusev into their lineup and be able to make the deal with Vegas.

That one just seems well beyond Jim Rutherford’s magic.

More Rumors

Nick Bjugstad’s name has come up recently regarding the Penguins efforts to move salary. The backup plan would be Jared McCann in the third line center role but wasn’t that tried last season? And didn’t the Penguins decide there was a significant advantage to Bjugstad in that role?

The answer to both questions is yes.

We’ve been over the advanced stats and praise for Bjugstad-Hornqvist. Here and here. Oh, and here too. The pair often had a Corsi rating well above 60% and scoring chance ratio to match. They scored 72% of the goals (8gf, 3ga) at even strength.

There was nothing to indicate that was a fluke. Bjugstad is a not physical but he is strong on the puck and good on the wall. His long wingspan and deceptively fast skating allow him to be a suffocating forechecker. Sometimes he was too aggressive and barged into the zone as the second forechecker before looking behind him (as was his former team’s system). It mostly worked in his and the Penguins favor.

Bjugstad does make $4 million and having that off the books would help, but it would cost that much to fix the hole which would be created.

One more thing in the Penguins rumors: Jack Johnson back to LA.

Ok, that one makes sense.

Subscribe to PHN+

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.

18 Comments
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
18 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Evan
Evan
2 years ago

It could be possible, find someone willing to take Johnson, and hope they could use him rather than just absorb a contract to get a small asset in return, like a lower pick in next draft (possibly Ottawa? Since they’re under the cap floor and only have 6 defenseman under contract) then take the gamble on Puljujarvi from Edmonton, (with the star caliber players we have here in Pittsburgh, there is no way he can’t blossom a little). Previous rumors stated rust for Puljujarvi, well it’s been 3 weeks and Edmonton still has no takers, maybe Edmonton throws in a… Read more »

Dean
Dean
2 years ago
Reply to  Evan

Don’t need Gusev and you left Puljujarvi out of your line-up. I would take my chance on the 6′ 4″ Puljujarvi all day long over Gusev.

Guentzel Crosby Puljujarvi
McCann Malkin Galchenyuk
Kahun Bjugstad Hornqvist
ZAR Blueger Tanev

Simon 13th

Dean
Dean
2 years ago

Dan, another good one! I looked at that trade every way possible and just could not see how it makes us better. Plus I couldn’t agree more on Bjugstad. He is who we need and $4M is the going rate for good 3rd line centers. That trade would have also cause additional problems in the future and we already have enough. For now, I would love them to move Johnson even if it cost us a high pick or a good prospect, clear the space and give this team a chance. Next year will already bring it’s own problems. If… Read more »

Matt
Matt
2 years ago

Grossly overlooked is the absence of a competent face-of option to help take the load off Crosby especially late in games. Malkin, Bjugstad, McCann, Galchenyuk and Blueger all are below average or worse in that area. This is a glaring weakness that needs to be addressed at some point.

Jay95
Jay95
2 years ago

I don’t think that the Pens want to move Bjugstad, I just think it’s what other teams are asking for. But, the Pens made Rust moveable with the signing of Tanev. I think that was the idea. I could easily see them moving both Rust and Johnson in a salary dump…then picking up Gusev with picks, prospects (Hallander looks like a prime candidate to move). The dump of Rust and Johnson leaves enough to sign Gusev, all 3 RFA’s, adds talent, and keeps organizational depth. The one issue is who replaces JJ actually. Riikola is first up. But, let’s not… Read more »

dean
dean
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

Agreed!!
Dumoulin Letang
Pettersson Schultz
Riikola Gudbranson

Ruhwedel

Carry all 3 goalies

Hatrick Pornqvist
Hatrick Pornqvist
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

The only issue I have with this is the idea that we are one injury away from having Riikola and Ruhwedel in our lineup full time. That scares me. When you look at what the D did last year when injuries hit, they played fantastic. We go down to 5 d for two periods, I’m terrified for the blue line. For all the flack the Internet likes to give to Johnson, he is a guy who can give you 25 solid minutes and hold the Fort when then team buckles down in front of him. Ruhwedel, Trotman, Riikola, I don’t… Read more »

Hatrick Pornqvist
Hatrick Pornqvist
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

I thought Riikola played well with the puck on his stick and have high hopes for him for sure. Down low in his own end I thought he was pushed around pretty easily and rushed a lot of plays. He’s great at breaking out with speed and the things people instantly notice. But the little things with him need a lot of work. The full time job part scares me. He will get in as soon as an injury happens. With our luck he plays 50-60 games anyways while guys heal up.

Matt Luda
Matt Luda
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

Pettersson has to be paired with Gudbranson for his own safety. Not long after he came aboard, opponents targeted him on a regular basis. Didn’t happen nearly as often with Gud around. But leaves that Schultz with Riikola, which is why the Pens need to keep Johnson or add a cheaper veteran.

Cal
Cal
2 years ago

If it comes down to keeping either Rust OR Bjugstad it a no-brainer. Keep Bjugstad hands down.

Matt Luda
Matt Luda
2 years ago

Rust and Johnson for Puljujarvi and a second-rounder (which basically is a late first-rounder because the Oil Spill figures to suck again).

Matt Luda
Matt Luda
2 years ago

Or Rust and Jarri for a similar package.

André Vargas
André Vargas
2 years ago

You forgot about Simon. The 3rd line was awesome last season:
Simon – Bjugstad – Hörnqvist

I’d try to move Jack Johnson with Aston-Reese attaches to him to sweeten the pot a bit. If we are not able to do this trade, Rust should be a candidate.

RuthlessBurgher
RuthlessBurgher
2 years ago

How about a Three Way Trade?

Pittsburgh Gives Up: F Bryan Rust, D Jack Johnson, G Tristan Jarry, and 2nd round pick in 2020.
Vegas Gives Up: F Nikita Gusev and a 3rd round pick in 2020.
Edmonton Gives Up: F Jesse Puljujarvi and a 4th round pick in 2020.

Pittsburgh Receives: F Nikita Gusev and EDM’s 4th rounder in 2020.
Vegas Receives: F Jesse Puljujarvi, G Tristan Jarry, and PIT’s 2nd rounder in 2020.
Edmonton Receives: F Bryan Rust, D Jack Johnson, and VGK’s 3rd rounder in 2020.

Join PHN Extra!

Join PHN+ today for exclusive content from Dan and Shelly plus a completely Google ad-free experience.

PHN+

Or enter your email below to sign-up for our mailing list.

Thank you!

Something went wrong.

No thanks. I don't want.