Penguins Trade Talk: Pens Looking at Minnesota, Again
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Penguins Trade Talk

Penguins Trade Talk: Pens Looking at Minnesota, Again

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Penguins trade talk: Minnesota Wild Kevin Fiala
ST. LOUIS, MO. - OCTOBER 30: Minnesota Wild leftwing Kevin Fiala (22) during a NHL game between the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues on October 30, 2019, at Enterprise Center, St. Louis, MO. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire)

The Pittsburgh Penguins have salary cap space to add and may have roster space to fill. Tuesday afternoon, a source close to the Penguins front office told PHN that Penguins trade talks have included an old friend. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford may be discussing a deal with his former assistant GM Bill Guerin, who was named the GM of the Minnesota Wild in August.

The source told PHN the Penguins inquired about small, but tenacious forward Kevin Fiala. As Minnesota GM, Guerin signed the 23-year-old left wing to a two-year, $6 million contract on Sept. 11.

Fiala is 5-foot-10, 193 pounds, and a speedy forward with good stickhandling skills and high compete level. In 2017-18, which was his second NHL season, Fiala scored 23 goals and 25 assists for the Nashville Predators. Last season, he slumped to 39 points (13g, 26a) in 83 games split between Nashville and Minnesota.

Fiala was dealt to Minnesota at the trade deadline for Mikael Granlund.

Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist was injured Saturday, and the Penguins announced he would be out “longer-term.” Fiala has just two points, including one goal in nine games this season. Minnesota’s nine points this season are tied for worst in the NHL.

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Guerin has the unenviable task of retooling Minnesota despite aging stars with onerous contracts. Defenseman Ryan Suter is 34-years-old but signed for another five seasons with a cap hit of $7.5 million. Winger Zach Parise, 35, is also inked for another five years at a $7.5 million cap hit.

The Penguins dealt defenseman Erik Gudbranson more than a week ago and saved $4 million, so another deal is not required for the Penguins, which have been decimated by injuries. Fiala would fit in the new Penguins identity of fast players who are hard on the puck, but the knock on Fiala is strength. The Penguins might be looking to snipe a former 20-goal scorer on the cheap.

The Penguins have 96 shots in their previous two games and have allowed just 52 as their speed and tenacity have dominated opponents.

Rutherford and former MN GM Paul Fenton reached agreement in June for Penguins winger Phil Kessel and Minnesota winger Jason Zucker, but Kessel vetoed the deal.

The source did not indicate a deal was imminent or the level or seriousness of talks. In fact, the Penguins filled their open roster space Tuesday afternoon when they recalled rookie Sam Lafferty, who had six points (3g, 3a) in 10 games last month.

Guerin was the Penguins assistant GM from 2014 to 2019. He won a Stanley Cup with the Penguins as a player in 2009.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Hatrick Pornqvist

    November 5, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    Doesn’t mags much sense to me to go after a guy like Fiala. Lafferty seems more than capable. Plus who do we move? With Letang out its not like we have a bunch of extra D kicking around. Unless they are super high on Fiala for reasons unknown and can add him for minimal return (Riikola and a 5th, etc) then why do it. I guess if you gave a guy getting over-nacho’d and some space then why not.
    It seems I have no opinion either way. Thank you for letting me work that out.

    • Dan Kingerski

      November 5, 2019 at 7:27 pm

      I’m in the same boat, HP. I’m not judging it, just reporting it, but it would seem the Penguins may be able to snipe a 20-goal scorer who fits their system for a discount.

      • Matt Luda

        November 6, 2019 at 1:55 pm

        This team needs a power forward who can score consistently in the low slot. (Hornqvist cannot be trusted physically.) Fiala is an undersized bottom sixer. #BadMatch

    • PuckHog

      November 6, 2019 at 3:16 am

      While not advocating for this trade, simply assuming that Lafferty is capable of doing what Fiala has already done based upon an 8 game sample size and a few preseason games is…well, it isn’t really wise. And that’s on many levels. I think people really need to pump the breaks on Lafferty. I love the speed and I love the effort but a lot of fans are acting as if he was an offensive juggernaut…which he was, for all of two games and then he disappeared on the score sheet until he realized that he was about to be sent down and picked up an assist in his last game.
      Don’t get me wrong, the debut was very positive overall but I don’t see evidence of any consistent scoring at this level and due to college, despite being a rookie, people seem to forget that he is 24.
      I see no reason to trade away the cap space on a risky longshot in Fiala, whom our coach won’t put in a position to succeed or to maximize his immense offensive skill. This is a guy who would fit greatly with Crosby but Sullivan has shown no indication of acknowledgement of a problem with the first line. If Sullivan given Simon the 3rd most average ice time amongst forwards this year…yeah, think about that…a 750,000 dollar player over Geno, Horny…well you get the picture. If Sullivan has given Simon that ice time then he is obviously happy with the results and trading for Fiala, or any skilled wingers is a waste of time considering we have better options on the team right now who aren’t given an opportunity, let alone the several extended opportunities Sullivan keeps gifting to Simon.
      So until something is done on that front and it becomes clear that you don’t waste the skill or vision of one of the most gifted passers in the history of the league by allowing a guy whose shooting percentage is the lowest of the regular forwards on the team. A first line…on ANY team does not have a guy with a shooting percentage under 7% for the second year in a row and they sure don’t have the dude as the forward with the 3rd highest ice.

      So JMJR and Sullivan need to be on the same page or we’re going to have another Reaves, Cole…well another situation where we spend assets acquiring a useful player whom Sullivan either doesn’t know how to use or no intention of doing so.
      Personally, given the way Sullivan has alienated entire locker rooms in the past and with the same signs showing up in this locker room (a room that has never shown any hint of an issue since Sid’s rookie season) starting midseason after our 2nd cup victory, I think that the best personnel move is not a popular one, but I’d get rid of Sullivan before either Geno or Letang become his next victims as it is clear those 2 are already targets

  2. jessevereb

    November 5, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    he is very similar to Jared mccann from a stat standpoint atleast… maybe better. and a right handed shot. I’m good with it. especially if they get a good deal. Minnesota sucks right now. he had almost 50 pts at 21. and should have played in the Stanley cup finals if I’m not mistaking ? wink. sign him up for the good guys.

    • PuckHog

      November 6, 2019 at 3:34 am

      He is nothing like McCann. Defense and physical game are non existent and unlike McCann, Fiala has been given consistent and sustained opportunity solely in prime offensive roles while McCann rarely is. And Fiala has had less than desirable results coming from those opportunities while McCann’s results have been positive only to be denied an opportunity to remain in said role.
      I am actually worried that Sullivan is going to screw up McCann because he has no clue about maximizing a blue chip offensive, skilled player to the benefit of the team or how to structure a team to maximize and benefit from using that skill. He tries to mold every player into Rust because that’s all he knows and all he wants. So a player can be very good but very good and Bryan Rust are very different things

  3. Cal

    November 5, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    If it’s Minny we’re talking, I hope Greenway is in the conversation. I think he can become a beast.

  4. dweth2

    November 5, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    I don’t think we need to worry about a trade right now, team is playing well the wins will come. I agree with jessevereb, let the young ones work.

  5. Pingback: Penguins Trade Talk: Pens Looking at Minnesota, Again - Pittsburgh Hockey Now -

  6. MD

    November 6, 2019 at 10:58 am

    not sure why Minnesota would be looking to trade a 23 year old. unless Billy G is planning an 8 year rebuild Fiala would seem to be one of the players you would rebuild around. so either Billy G is wanting to add more veterans thinking the Wild can win now, or there is something that makes a rebuilder want to dump a 23 year old, either way, it just doesn’t smell right to me.

    • Dan Kingerski

      November 6, 2019 at 11:01 am

      Just because a team inquired or is interested doesn’t mean the other team is necessarily shopping that player. Could the Pens have another piece which entices MN? That’s why teams have conversations.

  7. Pingback: Penguins Trade Talk: Pens Looking at Minnesota, Again – NHL Gameday Blog

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