“…We’ve still got three main pieces on the chessboard. Our goaltending has been spectacular since I got here. The guys are getting the job done really well,” Pittsburgh Penguins President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke concluded. “So, we’ve got to see if we can add to this group without forfeiting futures. People say — How do you do that? You have to make some trades probably. But we’ll see if we can do it. We’ll look at some free agents. We’ll have to make some tough decisions. Ownership gets that.”
In exclusive clips from the fubo Sports Network show “Drink with Binks” provided to Pittsburgh Hockey Now, Pittsburgh Penguins President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke didn’t shy away from the challenges facing the Penguins, including the high probability we will see one or more Penguins trades before the April 12 deadline.
“Drinks with Binks” is an interview-based TV show hosted by Julie Stewart-Binks that airs every Wednesday at 8 p.m ET / PT on fubo Sports Network. It’s available nationwide on fuboTV, FREE on XUMO, Samsung TV Plus, LG smart TVs, and the Roku Channel.
The show airs tonight.
Burke certainly hasn’t been coy about the Penguins trade hopes.
“That’s the goal, to see if we can add this year. See how far we can get with the group. Yes, the team is getting older. The stars are getting older. But since I’ve been here, they’ve all been excellent,” Burke said. “There’s not a drop-off in play–maybe from 100-point seasons, there is. But there’s been no dropoff, and I put Kris Letang in there too because he’s been unbelievable lately.”
The Penguins are in the midst of an up-and-down season. The team is 12-8-1 but has only five regulation wins. The Penguins tamed the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, 5-2. They did so without Sidney Crosby, who in the NHL COVID protocols.
Evgeni Malkin picked up some slack. So did Bryan Rust who scored a goal. Kasperi Kapanen had two goals. But everything still revolves around Crosby, Malkin, and Letang.
“So, we think we’ve got three-star players,” Burke said. “Maybe they’re not in their best producing years, but they’re still really good players, and we’ve got to see if we can put something else on the team and see what we can do in the playoffs if we make the playoffs.”
That’s a real concern. The Penguins, which have the longest current active streak in the NHL at 14 seasons, are currently in fifth place of the East Division with fierce competition from the Flyers and the New York Islanders. The Penguins have a winning record against New York but have ceded overtime points, including a split last weekend in which the Penguins earned two points, but the Islanders claimed three.
That’s why the coming trade deadline is vital. It seems this may be the Penguins’ last gasp. Missing the playoffs would be the cataclysmic end to the most successful team in the salary cap era.
GM Ron Hextall said last Saturday that the team would “consider” adding toughness to the lineup but added caveats, including affordability and availability.