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PHN Blog: Besides Crosby, Is Anyone Really Untouchable or Irreplaceable?

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Jeff Carter

Jake Guenzel would be close. Tristan Jarry is in the same category. They are players who the Pittsburgh Penguins would almost assuredly not be able to adequately replace if GM Ron Hextall shipped them away via the NHL trade market.

Are there any true untouchables besides Sidney Crosby?

Crosby was wholesale snubbed in Hart Trophy voting this season despite 84 points (31-53-84), but he carried the team for the bulk of the season. At 34, he remains the heart, soul, and face of the franchise, in addition to its best player.

After that?

At PHN, we’ve been adjusting to the Hextall regime. In past years, neon signs were pointing where the team was headed. Even the GM told us who he wanted, who he really really wanted. Sometimes, we got conflicting reports from different factions in the hockey ops department, but there was always discussion and perceived movement.

Things are a little different now, so we’re left to read tea leaves, interpret actions, and most of all, non-actions. In this manner, PHN is probably well-positioned for this coverage, given our wealth of league contacts and more experience than we’d like to admit. Even so, we often disagree amongst ourselves on what we see.

Dave Molinari has less than subtlety hinted the Penguins’ best route is a semi-tear down with a good bit of losing to earn high draft picks.

I believe the right tweaks could make the Penguins a formidable team for another few years and provide the basis to avoid an ugly Generation Next rebuild.

Of course, maybe I’m just too old to watch the next Aleksey Morozov float around the perimeter or get excited to cover a fourth-rounder who might not be terrible. The most recent of those is Lukas Svejkovsky, the diminutive winger taken in the 2020 NHL Draft. Silky mitts. Zippy skating. Nose for the net. Not much bigger than my grandson.

In 2024 perhaps he’ll be ready. Or in Wheeling. You can never tell. But I much prefer covering NHL hockey and the playoffs.

Pittsburgh Penguins Lineup

After Crosby, and probably Guentzel and Jarry, the rest of the Penguins lineup can be replaced, upgraded, or otherwise filled with others. If less expensive or more talented options are available, there isn’t anyone else who should be considered safe.

Jeff Carter, Brian Dumoulin, and John Marino are three such examples.

In May, Sidney Crosby confirmed he would play three more years. And then…? We’ll see. He laughed heartily when told that Kris Letang wants to play for five or more years.

“He said that? That seems about right,” Crosby laughed.

I strongly think the Penguins are better with Kris Letang. There aren’t any equal replacements. We’ve circled Jeff Petry and Tyson Barrie on the NHL trade block. Both are a step back, but there are financial limits to re-signing a 35-year-old defenseman, and both potential trade acquisitions would add significant salary cap savings to allocate elsewhere.

Maybe Letang will play for five more years in Pittsburgh. Maybe not. But that wouldn’t change the immutable fact that not even he would be untouchable in the coming years. He will eventually begin to slip; age is undefeated.

And he could be replaced in the immediate, perhaps with multiple upgrades among the Penguins defensemen.

Maybe someday, UNICEF will get involved in owning hockey teams, but until then, it’s a business. Any decision on re-signing Letang or Evgeni Malkin will be run through the business filter. Loyalty doesn’t win games, but it may count for a little extra latitude in negotiations.

We think.

It’s been a year since the pair were announced as top priorities. A year is a long time. Here we are, 18 days from the start of free agency, and the next bit of good news in negotiations will be the first.

Let this be a stark reminder. No one, except Sidney Crosby, is truly untouchable.

The Pittsburgh Penguins must get better, either via the long way around by losing and getting high picks or by finding ways to upgrade their current team. For some reason, Penguins fans feel entitled not only to a playoff appearance but to four playoff series wins each season, and Round One losses are driving fans away.

Fans in Detroit, Ottawa, and Buffalo send their thoughts and prayers.

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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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Frank
Frank
1 month ago

I think if you are a responsible GM everyone on your roster is a candidate to be moved. Of course some of them may carry a price that makes the return expected outrageously impossible to achieve. So if you want to talk about Sidney Crosby you had better have the back of the truck loaded with current stars and a couple or minor league “can’t miss” players and a draft pick or two when you come to pick up Sid. Not going to happen of course. So on that basis . .. he is not tradeable. Make no mistake I… Read more »

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[…] Sidney Crosby, are any other Pittsburgh Penguins considered untouchable this offseason? […]

Pete
Pete
1 month ago

Unless and until the Pens get bigger and tougher in front of both nets, they will not make a deep run. This team is built to be fun to watch in the regular season and they are. They get pushed around in playoff hockey.

Phil
Phil
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete

But we were bigger and stronger with jack Johnson, erik gudbranson. And everyone blamed them for slowing down the rush. And dragging down the blueline. Everyone complained we need to get faster. Than we do that get Matheson speed and skill no more size and toughness. And now fans want size and toughness. Lol it’s a no win situation. This team is good and if not for some dirty hits and injuries to the top 2 goalies they beat the NYR.

Dan N
Dan N
1 month ago

Just a crazy thought…Would you trade Jarry and one of the contracts of Pettterrson or Zucker to New Jersey for the second overall pick..which is doubtful…or To Buffalo for their number one…Saving anywhere from 8-9 million getting a good young player creating cap space to sign whomever…Don’t shoot me on this one but signing MAF to a 2 year team friendly deal until their young goaltenders are ready…I know crazy but what has Jarry and DeSmith really done for us in May…

Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Dan N

There are several available goalies not named MAF who would be an upgrade over Jarry, even a few who would it for a lot less money. One would think that a former goalie such as Hexy knows this, but does anyone have a clue what goes on inside his concussed brain?

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul
Paul
Paul
1 month ago

Why has Crosby done lately to be untouchable, especially at his age? This team can be one-and-done in the playoffs without him just as easily as with him. If I could get Byrum and Nichushkin from the Lanche in a trade for him, I would do it yesterday. I have doubts that savvy GM such as Sakic would be interested, though, unless MacKinnon held the franchise hostage to do it.

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul
Vittorio
Vittorio
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

Then you Paul are a TRAITOR and should be barred from commenting. The 2 guys you mentioned are not even worth trading for but you know what Paul you have given me a great idea for a trade:PHN Trades Paul to Montreal for 7th Rd pick and a player to be named later. How’s that for a trade Paul?

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
1 month ago
Reply to  Vittorio

He just posts nonsensical crap to get a rise out of people. Pay him no mind.

Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Vittorio

Don’t call me a traitor. I got 81 million votes in the last election, brah.

Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

BTW, Byrum had the best plus-minus (+15) in the SC playoffs. Oh, and he’s 21 years old.

Keith Yanda
Keith Yanda
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

😂🤣

Kris
Kris
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

I’ll bet you are fun at parties…..

Keith Yanda
Keith Yanda
1 month ago

I think if there was a substantial offer for Jarry, they should at least consider it. He’s very good but after last year’s playoffs… 🤷🏼‍♂️

hockeyfan68
hockeyfan68
1 month ago

Sorry but I don’t think this team loses in first round if not for injuries to #1&2 goaltenders. Took rangers to 7 games with backup’s backup and cheap shot injuries to 2 other players. So IMO one more year with current team as much as possible and hopefully healthy players at playoff time see if they can make a run. Please be gentle when you tear me to shreds with your replies.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  hockeyfan68

No one cares, but i do agree with you 100% I don’t see any trades happening with Hextall as gm and he seemingly hasn’t tried too hard to retain his #1 defenseman and #2 center. Who knows what this team will look like next season. I bet thay it won’t be pretty

Kris
Kris
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Yep just like last season when we were not going to make the playoffs. We are the worst team in the league every July and August…

Phil
Phil
1 month ago
Reply to  hockeyfan68

I’ve been saying the same thing since the season ended. 100 pt season if not for injuries we beat the NYR.

Rich Filardi
Rich Filardi
1 month ago

For argument sake, lets say he does field offers- will he make the right moves? Do you really feel Jarry is close to untouchable? I get that goalie is the most important part of anyteam. Are you ready to commit to him LT for decent coin for winning essentially nothing in the post season? If you cant upgrade the entire roster then you will be in a similar situation like the Ducks and Gibson.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rich Filardi
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[…] PHN Blog: Ist außer Crosby noch jemand wirklich unantastbar oder unersetzlich? […]

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[…] Hockey Now:  Despite entering his age 34 season, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is still irreplaceable. Is he the only Penguins player that is? Dan Kingerski has more on the […]

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[…] Pittsburgh: Is Sidney Crosby the only untouchable member of the Pittsburgh Penguins? […]

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[…] PGH: Other than Sidney Crosby, is anyone really untouchable on the Pittsburgh Penguins? […]

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[…]  Besides Crosby, Is Anyone Untouchable? […]

Chalkdust
Chalkdust
1 month ago

My biggest fear is that Mr. Hextal is going to waste Sid’s last three years with his conservative style of drafting and trading for players. Free agency is a gift for teams like the Penguins who need to keep winning through trades and signings. Waiting for draft choices that may never set skate on NHL ice shouldn’t be in the current mind set of The Penguins. I’d bet that the folks in Boston aren’t looking for a rebuild through losing and garnering draft choices.

Bob
Bob
1 month ago

Let’s start something here. Question: If you had a chance to trade Crosby for someone, who would you want in return besides McKinnon which I assume just about everyone would take.

Katz is Dumb
Katz is Dumb
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob

I would take Makar, best player in the league.

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[…] In just over two weeks, the start of free agency will be upon us. Are there any Pittsburgh Penguins — aside from Sidney Crosby — who are […]

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[…] Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The Pittsburgh Penguins don’t really have replacements for forward Jake Guentzel and goaltender Tristan Jarry if they traded them this offseason. Sidney Crosby is basically their only untouchable. […]

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[…] Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The Pittsburgh Penguins don’t really have replacements for forward Jake Guentzel and goaltender Tristan Jarry if they traded them this offseason. Sidney Crosby is basically their only untouchable. […]

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[…] Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The Pittsburgh Penguins don’t actually have replacements for ahead Jake Guentzel and goaltender Tristan Jarry in the event that they traded them this offseason. Sidney Crosby is principally their solely untouchable. […]

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[…] Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The Pittsburgh Penguins don’t actually have replacements for ahead Jake Guentzel and goaltender Tristan Jarry in the event that they traded them this offseason. Sidney Crosby is mainly their solely untouchable. […]

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[…] is clear that it is difficult to miss playing with likes (Sydney) Crosby And (Evgeny) Malkin and (Chris) Letang In the same dressing room. All of that was taken into […]

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[…] is clear that it is difficult to miss playing with likes (Sydney) Crosby And (Evgeny) Malkin and (Chris) Letang In the same dressing room. All of that was taken into […]

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[…] it’s laborious to go up enjoying with the likes of (Sidney) Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin and (Kris) Letang in the identical locker room. That every one factored into […]

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[…] clear that it’s tough to overlook enjoying with likes (Sydney) Crosby And (Evgeny) Malkin and (Chris) Letang In the identical dressing room. All of that was considered, […]

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[…] clear that it’s tough to overlook enjoying with likes (Sydney) Crosby And (Evgeny) Malkin and (Chris) Letang In the identical dressing room. All of that was considered, […]

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[…] is clear that it is difficult to miss playing with likes (Sydney) Crosby And (Evgeny) Malkin and (Chris) Letang In the same dressing room. All of that was taken into […]

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[…] že je ťažké odmietnuť s niekým hrať (Sidney) Crosby a (Evgenij) Malkin a (Chris) Letang v tej istej šatni. Toto všetko malo na to vplyv. Ale v […]

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