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Penguins Willing to Trade First-Round Pick, in Win-Now Mode

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Pittsburgh Penguins trade; GM Jim Rutherford NHL trade rumors

The Pittsburgh Penguins are conscious of the future and their lack of prospects. However, after speaking with a source close to the Penguins front office, it is believed the Penguins and GM Jim Rutherford are in win-now mode, with emphasis on now. And, we were told as part of the effort to re-tool quickly, the Penguins trade options include dealing their first round pick.

Saturday, the Penguins dealt defenseman Olli Maatta for sneaky forward Dominik Kahun. Now the Penguins are running short of trade chips. Rutherford is in a bind after winger Phil Kessel refused to accept a trade to Minnesota and there is a lack of acceptable suitors. The Penguins GM is attempting to refresh a team and locker room which was summarily bounced out of the playoffs in just four games.

Somewhat surprisingly, the source close to the front office indicated the Penguins 2019 first-round draft pick is “100% in play.”

The Penguins have not had a first round selection since 2014 and Rutherford’s in-season comments indicated the Penguins placed particular emphasis on keeping this pick. But that was before Kessel blocked the Penguins from making a shake-up style move when he nixed the Minnesota deal for Jason Zucker.

The Penguins have a shrinking championship window as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are in their 30s and Rutherford must decide just how important the future is when compared to the present.

The present is currently winning the battle and the Penguins may continue their streak of not picking on the first day of the NHL draft if Rutherford can find a deal which helps the Penguins win now. The Penguins were anxious to add depth to their organization but may choose to deal the pick for additional secondary scoring or more speed in the lineup, according to the source.

The Penguins have the 21st overall pick at the 2019 NHL Draft which begins Friday in Vancouver. The last time the Penguins had a first-round selection, they snagged Finnish prospect Kasperi Kapanen with the 21st overall pick in 2014. Kapanen was the centerpiece of the Penguins offer to Toronto for Kessel in the summer of 2015.

Rutherford also dealt the Penguins 2015 first pick to Edmonton for David Perron. The Penguins sent their 2016 first selection to Toronto as part of the package for Kessel. In 2017, the Penguins hooked up with St. Louis to deal Oskar Sundqvist and the 31st overall pick for Ryan Reaves and the 55th overall pick. And the Penguins traded their 2018 first rounder to Ottawa as part of the Derick Brassard deal.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now will have full coverage from Vancouver of any trades or picks, including video interviews. 

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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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Rich Filardi
Rich Filardi
2 years ago

Not sure I like this – this team is closer to being out of the playoffs than a Cup team as it’s currently constructed and if you want a bigger window- have to move one of the Core!

Zach Smith
Zach Smith
2 years ago

Maybe package the pick in a deal for Jacob Trouba?

Ricardo58
Ricardo58
2 years ago

This Pens team with its current makeup or simply last year’s team is no Stanley Cup contender. Management will run this ship aground chasing ghosts of what was. The bottom will fall out and the Pens will be a bottom feeder. Trading away picks is going to harm the team play for years to come. I’m losing confidence in the GM and team ownership by the day. I don’t understand why the team can’t do a re-boot focused around 87 and go for the Cup again in 2 years. 87 would be the same age as Patrice Bergeron of the… Read more »

Melissa Hart
Melissa Hart
2 years ago

Yikes! Those last couple of paragraphs and the litany of failed deals sure doesn’t sound like a team that won 2 cups.
No risk, no reward, i suppose…

PentictonGrafftiTF (@PentictonGraffi)

if ovie comes to pittsburgh

Keith Thomas
Keith Thomas
2 years ago

Hmmmmm……… exactly what JR are we to believe? The one who wants to keep the #1 2019 pick because the draft is so deep and rich or the JR who now says he is willing to deal the #1 pick? The peculiar Mr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde routine by JR is uncharacteristic and yet very interesting. Earlier we had heard that “Malkin and/or Kessel is worthy of movement in the offseason and open to considerations to trading them” …….. NOW Both are confirmed to be on the roster in October. YIKES! This organizational schizophrenia is either well planned or it is quite… Read more »

Hatrick Pornqvist
Hatrick Pornqvist
2 years ago
Reply to  Keith Thomas

He’s definitely been all over the map wow. This is why I still think Phil could be leaving. A lot of it is just posturing it seems.

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