The NHL rumor mill is the easy part. Trade this for that. The trades make sense on video game consoles and message boards, but the ease with which fans and media make trades belies the grinding negotiations between NHL GMs, which sometimes takes months. The Pittsburgh Penguins trade talks begin with dealing a goalie but will also need to shed salary and freshen a lineup, which has stumbled.
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford will likely make additional moves. And in those further moves lies the Penguins’ ability to revamp for next season. However, the Penguins trade return on Murray could become the fulcrum of the offseason.
Our existing analysis of the trade market used recent historical data with a bit of player analysis compared to the market to determine Murray’s baseline value was a second-round pick and second-tier prospect. Even if another team offered an NHL player, the Penguins salary cap situation is so tight, the Penguins may not be able to accept anything but a third-pair, right side defenseman who makes well less than market value.
Unfortunately for the Penguins, of the 57 goalies who played at least 20 games this season, Murray ranked 50th with an .899 save percentage. Such stats have not escaped the buyers on the increasingly-flooded market.
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is in win-now mode. Subsequent moves will best reflect the Penguins’ needs to shed salary now and add talent. Under better circumstances, a Penguins trade could bring one of those pieces.
However, PHN spoke with industry sources over the past several days. In the words of Rob Base and DJ E-Z, it takes two to make a thing go right. Our sources made that clear.