It’s only October, and trades rarely happen at this time of year because teams don’t yet know what they have, or don’t have. However, the Pittsburgh Penguins multiple attempts to make a trade leading into the season, during training camp and reportedly on the eve of the regular season opens the door to Penguins trade rumors and wonder. Injuries have temporarily cured the Penguins salary cap crunch but those problems will return in force sometime in November, or when Bryan Rust, Evgeni Malkin, Nick Bjugstad and Alex Galchenyuk are healthy.
It may be interesting to note the high number of scouts that have watched the Penguins over their opening four-game homestand. Now, it always needs to be said, written and offered as a reminder, scouts in attendance do not specifically indicate trade talks. Or interest. Or anything, for that matter. Teams gather books on other teams, for future use, including trades and competition.
In other words, the only thing guaranteed by scouts in attendance is a few less press box nachos for our Editor-in-Chief Dan Kingerski.
One team scouted a few of the Penguins’ first home games. Interestingly, the Columbus Blue Jackets sent a bevy of scouts. They sent three and then two scouts for the last couple of home games.
Generally, one scout does advance work.
Calgary assistant GM Don Maloney was present with another scout for the Penguins 2-1 win over Anaheim. Since Anaheim is a Western Conference team and easily accessible to Calgary, we’ll put a pin in that one as interesting, too.
The Washington Capitals have also sent a scout to the last few Penguins games, despite a lack of advance scouting needs. Correction–Pittsburgh Hockey Now incorrectly tweeted that Craig Patrick was one of the Washington Scouts. Actually, it was Chris Patrick.
Other teams to roll through Pittsburgh without advance scouting needs are: San Jose, Philadelphia, Toronto, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Vegas, Boston, New Jersey, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Nashville, and Arizona.
According to Kingerski, early-season games generally have a few scouts in attendance. The high volume of scouts traveling around the league early in the year is another telling sign that there are a lot of teams looking to make moves for salary cap or other purposes and this could be a long year for Penguins trade rumors as teams try to reshape without giving away valuable assets with bad contracts.
Remember, nameless, faceless Twitter accounts aren’t the places to get the scoop!