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Sizing Up Potential Penguins Trade Partners: 4 Teams With Cap Space

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Pittsburgh Penguins trade talk, NHL trade, Brian Dumoulin, Kasperi Kapanen, Tristan Jarry

A Pittsburgh Penguins trade may hinge on the four teams lying in wait. Four teams with ample salary cap space and expectations that veer from winning the Stanley Cup to rebuilding, retooling, or simply spending as little as possible.

If Penguins GM Ron Hextall or a dozen others around the league were musically inclined, they could be humming the Beatles, “Money, that’s what I want.” After a raucous free agent frenzy in mid-July, the NHL trade market from here to the start of the 2022-23 season will be about money. Some teams need to spend less, while a few teams are prepared to reap the rewards.

There are 13 teams that are over or at the NHL’s $82.5 million salary cap. A couple more teams have a little bit of space but won’t have enough to make a recall in the event of injury or illness.

The resulting situation puts upward pressure on the value of salary cap space. Teams with valuable cap space will set the market and choose which expendable players with salaries they want. Those cap-friendly teams also get to pick what assets, picks, or prospects that caps-trapped teams must attach to those players to complete the trade.

We should also lay out Penguins trade possibles, too. Marcus Pettersson, Brian Dumoulin, Jason Zucker, and Teddy Blueger are the players with salaries beyond the Penguins’ untouchables. Perhaps Kasperi Kapanen finds his way on the list, too. He was highly sought after in the summer of 2020 and did not disappoint in the COVID-shortened 2020-21 NHL season before a flatline last season.

In theory, Jeff Carter would also be on the list, but that seems highly unlikely.

Dumoulin, 31, has one year remaining on his contract with a $4.1 million AAV. Pettersson has three seasons at $4.025 million. Blueger is a valuable bottom-six center that makes $2.2 million.

Sizing Up Potential Pittsburgh Penguins Trade Partners:

There are four teams with lots of salary cap space., including the Arizona Coyotes, which are still $1.5 million below the salary cap floor. They have $23 million in cap space, while the Buffalo Sabres and Anaheim Ducks have about $19 million. The Chicago Blackhawks are in full teardown mode, too.

Buffalo Sabres: $23 million cap space.

The Sabres defense is where the Penguins and Sabres lineup. Buffalo is competent down the middle with Tage Thompson, Dylan Cozens, and Casey Mittlestadt, at least while the organization gives the young pivots time to find their place in the game.

However, the Buffalo blue line is both thin and undertalented, especially on the left side. *ahem. Owen Power has top-pick pedigree, but Mattias Samuelsson and Jacob Bryson are the other left-siders. It’s fair to call both inexperienced. Samuelsson was a second-round pick in 2018 and has played just 54 NHL games over the last two seasons.

Buffalo could surely use some experience on the blue line.

Arizona Coyotes: $19.4 million.

The Coyotes are the opposite of the Sabres. The left side of the Arizona defense is the strength of their team. Shayne Gostisbehere, Jakob Chychrun, and Patrik Nemeth are on the left, which negates much chance of a Penguins trade involving a defenseman.

However, the Arizona forwards crew is undertalented and could be much improved via the NHL trade market. Travis Boyd is perhaps the top center. Jack McBain and Lawson Crouse are likely in the top-six unless third-overall pick Logan Cooley changes course and opts for the NHL instead of the University of Minnesota.

The Coyotes might be convinced to take on some offensive talent to help Cooley and fill their 5000-seat arena.

However, since Arizona is already over the cap, they can be as stingy as they want. Kapanen or Blueger would make the most sense in this scenario.

Anaheim Ducks: $18.84 million.

This is an interesting match. Last week, Anaheim signed top RHD UFA John Klingberg to a one-year deal. On paper, they appear to be a team that could challenge for a playoff spot despite the paltry payroll.

They have the best of both worlds. Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras are at the top of their forward lines. Jamie Drysdale, John Klingberg, and Cam Fowler lead the blue line in front of top-notch goalie John Gibson.

The left side of the Ducks’ defense could use an upgrade on the left side, as could the Anaheim middle six and their bottom six.

All options would be on the table, but so too could Anaheim pick and choose the best expendable players of the other dozen teams near the cap.

Chicago Blackhawks: At least $10 million

It’s the biggest firesale in Chicago since Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked the lantern. Chicago already jettisoned Kirby Dach and Alex DeBrincat on the NHL trade market. It’s very possible Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are next.

Chicago has no reason to get better, but they have every reason to accept a salary attached to a high draft pick or prospect. For the Penguins’ trade hopes, this would be an expensive proposition. However, if Chicago trades Kane and Toews, they could need a salary to reach the cap floor.

If Chicago needs to add salary, they will certainly lessen their demand for prospects and picks to accept salary. However, until Chicago needs another salary, they’re a seller, not a buyer.

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Dean
Dean
1 month ago

McGinn would be the forward on my list.

Would like to get rid of overpaid guys with term, especially if it is going to cost a pick.

So that would be McGinn and/or Pettersson.

With either or both of these guys gone along with Zucker and Dumoulin having 1 year left, that would open a lot of space.

Knobman
Knobman
1 month ago
Reply to  Dean

After seeing what Bergeron and Krejci just signed for, Malkin didn’t do the Pens any favor and qualifies as an overpaid guy with term to get rid of. Thanks Geno.

Ujn Hunter
1 month ago
Reply to  Knobman

Geno is younger and still wants to play for 4 (maybe more?) years… he was never going to sign a 1 year deal that those 2 older players (one of whom had already left the NHL) who wanted one more kick at the can took.

Bob
Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  Ujn Hunter

Since he’s only played a little over half of the last 3 years combined can’t wait to see how many games he’ll play the next 4. He probably wanted a 3 year deal at 8 million per season and still got what he wanted anyway and that was a 4th year added on to get to his 24 million.

Knobman
Knobman
1 month ago
Reply to  Ujn Hunter

So why sign him? Why did Hextall cave and give him an extra year and Malkin demand money and term? Let him play four more years somewhere else.

Bob
Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  Knobman

I would’ve signed Giroux instead and told Malkin to not let the door hit him on the way out! But I guess Crosby and Letang run the team now!

ThePenguin71
ThePenguin71
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob

Giroux isn’t much of a center anymore and he makes several million dollars more than Malkin, so those are a couple of big problems.

ThePenguin71
ThePenguin71
1 month ago
Reply to  Knobman

Malkin is more valuable than either of those two.

Bob
Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  ThePenguin71

Giroux doesn’t make several million dollars mire than Malkin. He just signed for a little a little more than Malkin. Read his contract.

Bob
Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob

6.5 million for 3 years.

Bob
Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  ThePenguin71

Yeah he sure is that is if he actually can play a full season and help the team unlike the last 3.

Phil
Phil
1 month ago
Reply to  Knobman

Wow seriously? Your going to blame malkin?? It never stops with this fan base get over it. It was a negotiation. And all parties agreed to the terms. I would of thought if you were unhappy with that you would blame hextall? Nothing wrong with the contract. Geno is still very much an elite player. Hes not overpaid. But trying to convince irrational fans that vilify their own players and team. Doesnt work so believe and hate away.

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
1 month ago
Reply to  Phil

I am not even sure some of these people are actual penguins fans. There are a good handful that I wish i could just block

Last edited 1 month ago by Robert Shoemaker
Knobman
Knobman
1 month ago
Reply to  Phil

Obviously both parties agreed to the deal. I blamed Hextall for agreeing to the deal at the time. I believe it was stupid on his part to cave and agree to that contract. I think Geno needed to realize where he stands as a player now and agree to more favorable terms, so yes, I blame Malkin for his part in this. I’m not an irrational fan. There aren’t many Pens fans bigger than I am. I watch nearly every game, follow the league, and am aware of what players are becoming UFA’s and are rumored to want out of… Read more »

Phil
Phil
1 month ago
Reply to  Knobman

1st you dont know what will happen in 3 or 4 years. Geno was the best available player on the market. And has proven when healthy hes still very much an elite player. And I’m more worried about this season than 4 years from now. Who CARES! This team is competitive right now. We have a great mix of veterans and young guys. So there is not guarantee we will crash in burn in 4 years because we resigned geno to 4 year deal. By than the cap will go up and it wont matter. And geno did take less… Read more »

Phil
Phil
1 month ago
Reply to  Knobman

Also I’m a big penguins fan. And a NHL fan I pay attention to everything going on. It’s real easy to be a penguins fan from 09 to now with the success this team has had. But I’ve been a fan my whole life even in the dark ages of penguins hockey. So I remember when this team was not very good one of the worst teams in the league. I still watched every game and supported the team. That’s when you find true fans who support the team when they are awful and rebuilding. Most penguins fans jumped on… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Phil
Bama Bob
Bama Bob
1 month ago

Would love to see Kane or Toews in Penguins gear but doubt it would happen. Malken’s poor performance in the playoffs last year would suffice getting rid of him.

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
1 month ago
Reply to  Bama Bob

6 points in 7 games. Yep terrible

Paul
Paul
1 month ago

Zero points, zero SOG in Game 7. #Invisible

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

I know you forget but hockey its a “TEAM” game. And if not for his 3 goals and 6 points they are not in a position to win that series!! Including game winning overtime goal in game 1. And game 5 goal in the 2nd period to tie the game. He deflected the puck and scored on a great play. So he did his job. And its really sad that you hate this team. Your constant vilification of these guys gets old. You have never played professional hockey. It’s not easy. These guys are incredible athletes. But to blame one… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Phil
William Maloni
William Maloni
1 month ago

This team needs young and big bodies, not just cap relief, alone.

Alan Smith
1 month ago

Score, score we want more! Pens are all offense and have always been! Best 82 game team in the NHL to watch! Don’t protect leads just shove the puck over the blue lines! Really enjoyed their fast pursuit on defense! Most defensive teams can’t exit their zones and they turnover pucks with their bad passing! All other teams just wait for turnover themselves! Boring! Go Pens entertain us!

Phil
Phil
1 month ago
Reply to  Alan Smith

Well I think people forget in hockey you have to score goals to win games. Just ask the islanders! And I think everything you said is completely false. Every other team just sit back and waits for turnovers lol not true. If not for injuries they move on in the playoffs. So this team is already good. Your literally complaining for no reason. And they improved the blueline with jeff petry and jan rutta. But nothing I just typed matters to those in this fan base that endlessly complain and vilify this team and organization. 16 straight playoff appearances. And… Read more »

CPA
CPA
1 month ago

Anyway you sort it out will cost the Pens NHL caliber, assets & picks.

Of the teams that may give cap space relief, Buf makes the most sense & Pens can live with it.
Pens recieve
Oskari Laaksonen, $853k RD, & 2023 5th.
Buf recieves Petterson LD $4.02m, Zohorna, LW $750k, & 2024 3rd rnd or 4th depending on Pens making the SC. +$3,171,842 cap space w/o sending any players down Pens under cap by $1,691,667.

KBO
KBO
1 month ago
Reply to  CPA

Sabres have zero interest in trading for any further defenseman. They are still in rebuild mode and want to play the younger players.

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