Here we go again, the trade rumors are circling and the Pittsburgh Penguins have been brought up again over and over mostly mentioning the Penguins picking up rental players. The NHL trade deadline is February 27, 2012 and I’m sure if this is anything like last year, Penguins GM Ray Shero is hard at work on a game plan.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have only a couple hundred thousand in cap space but they make up for that in Long Term Injury Reserve (LTIR) cash. My estimates, and this all depends on if Sidney Crosby returns before the playoffs. If he doesn’t, by trade deadline day Ray Shero could have about $5 million to play with in cap space. If he does return they have only a few hundred thousand.
The problem for the Penguins is that the Money is almost all coming from LTIR cash. This is money derived from players who still need to be paid but are not playing. Last year the Penguins were allowed to spend over the cap limit the same way because of injuries and ended up losing money, according to Forbes Magazine, even though they sold out every game. Most likely because they did not make it to the second round of the playoffs.
The big question is: Will Penguins owners Mario Lemieux & Ronald Burkle want to do that again this year? A few names have been tossed around again this year. Player like Teemu Selanne who I don’t believe will leave the Ducks, Ales Hemsky from the Oilers, ex-Penguin Hal Gill and a bunch more. I think Philadelphia is going to make a bigger run at Hal Gill to replace Chris Pronger than the Pens ever will. Especially since we have more defensemen than we know what to do with.
Speaking of defensemen. With the emergence of Simon Després a Penguins defenseman or two could be going. I know everyone is looking to unload Martin’s salary, but look at the Penguins shots against totals when we have all are defense. The guy is logging the most time and is doing what he was brought in for. Spector’s Hockey said this on January 19th : “Some Pittsburgh fans and pundits have called for Martin to be shopped, but if he continues his improvement in the coming weeks, he’ll become too valuable to move”
Penguins fans are also looking to ship out Steve Sullivan and that cracks me up. Sullivan is quarterbacking the powerplay and has it running better than its been years. The only way the Penguins should get rid of Sullivan is if they know Crosby is coming back this season. Throw Crosby on the point on the power play. The guy can run it from there and he will have a less chance of getting injured in front of the net.
What Shero most likely will be looking for once again will be a rough and tumble winger for Crosby’s line that can put the puck in the net. Will he sacrifice a player or two to do it. Yes he will. It could be Kennedy, Cooke, Dupuis, who knows, it would depend on how good a player he can get. ex-Penguin Dominic Moore from Tampa has been mentioned.
How it will all shape up we have no idea. It’s going to be a fun ride once again. It always is. We try to pick at least semi-respected sources, but don’t always succeed and as we said up above, we will update this list as is needed.