The Pittsburgh Penguins trade rumors are increasing, even as GM Jim Rutherford has downplayed his activity. The Penguins will be without All-Star winger Jake Guentzel, who scored 40 goals last season and was the Penguins leading scorer this season. Speculation has persisted Rutherford will seek to replace Guentzel’s production.
Wednesday, the Penguins were linked to a pair of wingers, although it should be noted one link was speculative rather than a hard report of trade discussions.
In June, the Penguins agreed to a deal with Minnesota and their previous GM Paul Fenton to exchange Phil Kessel for winger Jason Zucker. Additional pieces may have been involved in the deal but Kessel invoked his modified no-trade clause.
Wednesday, The Athletic beat writer Michael Russo reported new Minnesota GM Bill Guerin is receiving interest in Zucker, including from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
‘I’m hearing Pittsburgh, which tried to get him for Phil Kessel, will show or has shown interest,” Russo wrote. The answer was part of a mailbag segment. Please view the full story here.
Zucker is currently injured but has 24 points, including 12 goals in 34 games. He’s been a frequent linemate of Eric Staal and Mats Zuccarello, and Minnesota is under .500 in the nine games Zucker has missed.
Zucker, 27, is a fast, gritty left-handed shot who has a 30-goal season on his resume. Zucker is signed for three years beyond this season with an average annual cap hit of $5.5 million.
Penguins Trade Speculation: Tyler Toffoli
Toffoli is often linked to the Penguins, despite no trade reports or leaks the Penguins and LA Kings have actually discussed such a deal. Wednesday, TSN Insider Bob McKenzie laid out what he believes LA will want in return.
“The rebuild (in LA) continues. You’ve got an unrestricted free agent, Tyler Toffoli, at the end of the season. He is going to be traded, there is no doubt about that,” McKenzie said during intermission on the NBCsn broadcast. “It’s either going to be for a second-round pick or a prospect. Or if things get pretty heated in terms of the numbers of teams that are after Toffoli, it could be both.”
Host Katherine Tappen added, “and as you mentioned on NHL Live, a possible landing spot for Toffoli could be Pittsburgh.”
Unfortunately, the video for NHL Live on Wednesday is not available.
Toffoli, 27, has 25 points (11g, 14a) in 44 games this season. He’s in his eighth pro season and won a Stanley Cup with LA in 2014. In 501 career NHL games, Toffoli has 281 points including 132 goals.
Toffoli is a right-handed RW who can get hot and pile up points but also can go long stretches without scoring. He skates well and also kills penalties. Toffoli will be a UFA after this season. His current salary is $4.6 million.