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PHN Blog: Squashing Penguins Rumors



Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL free agency, Tomas Tatar

There are significant rumors and continued rumblings surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins.

However, they’re not true.

Some aren’t even close.

Hey, we live in a post-truth world. Facebook is especially responsible because anyone can create a “news” outlet and blast away to tens of thousands of people. Inexplicably Facebook will suggest these sites to thousands of users who use Facebook as their primary news-gathering source. The story spreads, people begin discussing it on Twitter, Instagram, and text, and before you know it, it seems real.

So, before the next Super Hockey Rumors or Fantastic News of Hockey springs up, let’s squash the latest Penguins’ rumors.

Tomas Tatar:

No less than a dozen people have commented, DM’d, and publicly asked this writer about Tatar. Many, many more have taken the stories to heart.

“I keep hearing we’re going after Tatar,” one earnest questioner tweeted to us.

Here’s how this works. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman did, in fact, speculate that Tatar could be on the Penguins’ radar. The winger has a lot going for him. He had 20 goals last season. He’s only 32 and can be a pretty good scoring winger on a good team.

There’s no reason to downplay Tatar’s talent.

However, Friedman commented following a few days of Penguins news, beginning with Jake Guentzel’s ankle surgery and ending with the Penguins’ trade for Erik Karlsson. At the time, many wondered how long Guentzel would be out.

The Penguins’ press release indicated Guentzel “would be re-evaluated in 12 weeks.”

That wording doesn’t exactly guarantee a return to play in 12 weeks. However, Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas sounded an optimistic tone in his press conference this week.

“Jake is projected to miss, I think, it’s (until) late October, early November, and we don’t have a lot of games in that early stretch … So I think it’s in that third or fourth week of the season where he’s projected to be re-evaluated, then a decision will be made. We’re hopeful it goes well, of course, but we want to make sure he’s 100% ready to roll when he comes back,” Dubas said.

Guentzel could miss more time, but Dubas’s optimism should tell us there’s a pretty good chance that Guentzel will not miss months of NHL action.

Complicating any notion the Penguins could be hot on Tatar’s trail is the pesky salary cap. Without Guentzel on LTIR or projected to miss months, the Penguins can’t sign another NHL player and remain under the salary cap.

After the Karlsson trade, the Penguins’ salary cap structure is improved but still tight. shows the Penguins $220,658 under the cap. still shows the Penguins about $79,000 over the cap because CapFriendly has Rem Pitlick on the NHL roster. PuckPedia wisely moved one of the lower-priced veteran free-agent signings onto the roster instead.

The second hurdle to the rumor’s validity is Dubas shrugging away questions that he might try to add another prominent contributor via free agency. Dubas conceded to reviewing players worthy of professional tryouts and that the staff would spend a few days looking over the remaining free agents for bargains. However, he even laughed a little at the thought the Pegnguins could make another splash.

“I think this will be the group. With Granlund going out and two defensemen going out (in the Karlsson trade), I do think that we’ve kind of (looked at) in the last 24 hours the remaining free agents in terms of whether they are guys who want to sign on or even professional tryouts that think this could be a great squad for them to come in,” said Dubas. “So we’re sorting through that. I think if there’s more (moves), it will be in that vein more than anything big.”

Yet blog after Facebook “news outlet” picked up the same Tatar story using the same quote. Even Friday, days after Dubas spoke, there was a circulating news report furthering the noise “connecting the Penguins to Tatar.”

The greatest problem is every story used Friedman’s now outdated quote. There hasn’t been a credible report connecting the Penguins to Tatar, and Friedman’s comment was simply a hockey person’s speculation.

Update: Several readers have sent a Slovakian news story from several days ago in which Tatar admitted speaking with the Penguins at some point this summer. However, Tatar didn’t elaborate on when the talks occurred.

Jaromir Jagr

This one is almost embarrassing to confront, but it has to be done because, like people who panicked in the streets during Orson Wells’s famous War of the Worlds broadcast, sometimes people confuse fiction and reality.

It was a joke.

It was a joke made by a fun and humorous account, but a Facebook rumor rag known as Hockey Feed is really pushing this one. A check of their Facebook feed shows they’ve done multiple stories on it. You’d think even a Facebook page would know the difference, but perhaps accuracy isn’t the goal.


Hey, we like Penguins Jesus, and usually, he likes us. He was making a JOKE. Not report. Bad Facebook rumor people, bad!

Yes, there is a great chance Jaromir Jagr will appear in a Penguins jersey this season. It won’t be during a game but before it, as his iconic No. 68 jersey goes to the rafters beside Mario Lemieux’s No. 66 and Michel Briere’s No. 21.