Penguins Trade Talk: Taylor Hall, Needs & Cold Realities
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Penguins Trade Talk

Penguins Trade Talk: Taylor Hall, Needs & Cold Realities

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Alex Galchenyuk Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins have played exactly two periods with a full and healthy roster. They couldn’t even make it through an entire game with a healthy roster. It’s been a star crossed year for the Penguins, and yet it’s been stars who have led the brigade to a respectable 17-9-4 record and a Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference. But slow your roll on expecting or hoping for a Penguins trade to include marquee names.

The Penguins trade market will be very different this season than in years past. The Penguins decided to move from a top-heavy team which relied on scoring talent and instead used that money on a deep lineup. Enter Brandon Tanev.

The first impediment to the Penguins chasing a star like Taylor Hall is salary cap space. When fully healthy, the Penguins don’t have it. However, let us assume the Penguins trade Alex Galchenyuk and most of his $4.9 million salary, the Penguins will have temporary room to acquire a player.

NBCsn recently included the Penguins as a top-five team in the Taylor Hall sweepstakes, which ignited fan interest. However, NBCsn included the Penguins based on past events and reputation, not current realities.

Penguins Reality

Temporary because a few players are due a few raises next season. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford was blunt when they Penguins acquired Galchenyuk for Phil Kessel in June. Rutherford pointedly admitted Galchenyuk’s expiring contract was an attractive option and the Penguins have already earmarked that money for 2020-21.

To further chase the rabbit down the hole, that means the Penguins would need to give up a ransom for a rental player. Such a trade may have happened in 2018, but it will not happen in 2020. The Penguins organization led by Rutherford realizes the future will arrive sooner than later, and the Penguins are planning for it now. They could have traded their first round pick in June. Instead, they hung on to not only draft Sam Poulin, but they added a third-rounder for Nathan Legare, too.

Based on current beliefs around the league, the New Jersey Devils could want as many as four pieces, including top prospects. In real-world terms, New Jersey would force the Penguins to part with Poulin and a first-round pick, at least.

That’s just a no-go.

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Penguins Needs

The Penguins probably need another offensive threat. Probably.

Until the Penguins ice something akin to a full roster, they really don’t know what they need. Is Bryan Rust now a 30-goal scorer? Will Jared McCann begin to light up the scoreboard when he gets back to the wing? Once healthy, will Nick Bjugstad be able to produce at an adequate rate? Will he and Patric Hornqvist be able to tilt the ice again?

The Penguins may need a scoring threat or a third-line center. Perhaps they could also add a middle lines scorer.

Until the Penguins get somewhere close to healthy, it’s a guessing game who could jell and what the Penguins genuinely need. Before Penguins fans chase white wales like Hall, factor in the Penguins team-game and mindset. They’re a speedy, honest team that is now playing within head coach Mike Sullivan’s system. The Penguins won’t acquire a talented player to do his own thing.

Teams to Watch

Sportsnet tied Buffalo to the Penguins, though Buffalo’s surplus is defensemen. Buffalo hasn’t scouted the Penguins since early in the season, either. Since former Penguins assistant-GM Jason Botterill is admittedly looking for a forward, Alex Galchenyuk does make sense. However, according to Capfriendly.com, Buffalo is not projected to have enough salary-cap space to take on a multi-million dollar salary.

Which means they’ll have to send a salary out, in return. LHD Jake McCabe has been the rumored odd-man-out, but he makes $2.85 million this season AND next season.

One team to keep an eye on are the Carolina Hurricanes. They have scouted the last several Penguins home games. Carolina’s biggest need is in the net, so it does make sense they’re watching the Penguins, which have one to give if the price is right.

Chicago has also been popping in to watch the Penguins. Rutherford and Chicago GM Stan Bowman have some history which began in 2015 when the Penguins acquired defenseman Trevor Daley for d-man Rob Scuderi. Last summer, the Penguins plucked Dominik Kahun from Chicago for defenseman Olli Maatta.

Chicago is currently four points out of a Wild Card spot and six points from the Western Conference basement.

Roster Freeze

The holiday roster freeze begins on Dec. 19 and ends on Dec. 27. Unfortunately, PHN predicted several times Galchenyuk would be a name mentioned in the quasi-deadline trade talk.

While there is usually more smoke than fire to the holiday freeze deadline, a Galchenyuk deal would make sense if the Penguins can find temporary help, which fits short term goals, team concept, and salary cap structure.

It won’t be easy.

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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.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Craig Boylstein

    December 9, 2019 at 10:23 am

    That’s all well and good, but that means taking top LW away from a rejuvenated Malkin, putting him back with Crosby when he returns, then tell Malkin what? Sorry, but we need money next year to give out raises to lesser parts?
    They should be in win now mode. Obtaining Hall is win now mode. Obtaining Hall keeps Jake with Geno and makes the team serious Cup contenders.

    Do it Jim!

  2. jessevereb

    December 9, 2019 at 11:20 am

    if they were that high on Zucker, who is having a pretty good season, couldn’t they fire a deal together that’s a win for Minnesota and Pittsburgh?

  3. Jason Pope

    December 9, 2019 at 11:49 am

    I’m for getting Hall at the right price. Think galchenyuk, Addison, 2020 1st, 2021 2nd would be my best offer? If shero says no oh well. This team is gonna be very deep when healthy, so Rutherford can be patient. Maybe galchenyuk and JJ for an upgrade at ld?

    • Dan Kingerski

      December 9, 2019 at 12:45 pm

      Please re-read the story and step away from the keyboard.

  4. BIG B

    December 9, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Taylor Hall is not worth the asking price in trade or future salary.He won a Hart that he did not deserve to be nominated for as Malkin;Giroux,Nate the great and Kucherov all should have been ahead of him.He is having a lackluster year and has 1 and i mean one 30 goal season.He is worth a first and a good not great prospect as he is a rental and his salary should be in the 8’s and not the 10’s.He is closer to a Kessel complimentary player than a Crosby or Malkin.Go for AA in Detroit.

  5. David Gregg

    December 9, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    With Jake and Geno hooking up, who is the person to work with Sid when he comes back? I was watching some old video’s of the cup runs, Conor Sheary would be a good fit with Sid, $3M cap hit, his production has dropped since his time in Buffalo, but how much of that is playing in Buffalo (no offense)…I don’t like looking backwards, but his speed, knowledge of the system would allow him to step in and contribute…just a thought…

  6. Mike K

    December 11, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    The Pens will have “A LOT” of extra earmarked money if they decide (and should) not to give Murray 8 yrs, $8M that hes’ projected to get.

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