With the NHL's trade deadline standing roughly 20 days away, a lot of things can happen around the Penguins camp. The trades, recoveries and overall futures of some Pens players are certainly part of the consideration. The following is simply a personal list of players I feel fall into the categories chosen. Should you feel differently, by all means voice your concerns in the comments section or post a diary of your own. Remember, no username is required to comment on Pensburgh, but one is required to write a diary. Sign-up now and join the Pensburgh community.
Regardless of where a fan once stood on the subject, MAF's return to the line-up adds more weight to the shoulders of Dany Sabourin. From a franchise standpoint, it doesn't make much sense to send a career minor-leaguer with NHL experience back down to the minors. Its also not safe to say offering him up on the trading block would warrant a high return. Yet, there are still plenty of teams out there looking for a goalie of Sabourin's caliber. Sabourin is 8-8-1 this season with two shutouts. If I were posing as the team's salesman and looking to sell him off, I'd probably work with the fact that he's a competent goalie fresh off the bench in relief. I wouldn't start him, but I'd sure go to him for backup consideration. Teams of potential interest strike me as Colorado, Chicago and Phoenix.
He's the team's jokester, the locker room clown and the offensive under-achiever. When he's not playing with Sid, he's doing nothing. He's tallied only two points (assists) in the last 11 games, with his last regulation goal coming during the Winter Classic on a dish from Sid. He poses as a $1 Million/per season ghost on the ice, drawing attention only when he slides hip first into the boards. Stats have suggested, and I wish I still had the source somewhere, that the Pens play better hockey when Colby is in the line-up. I suppose the stats are based on sheer morale alone, because statistically speaking he does nothing to contribute.
Up until Therrien publicly chastised Whitney after the Devils game back on Monday night, I wasn't really giving this one all that much thought. Sure, for $2.5 Mil this year (and a costly $3 Mil next year) he's hardly playing up to expectations. Offensively he has failed to produce, and now defensively he is doing just the same. I'd expect a trade involving Whitney to be a long-shot. Should it go down it'd have to pay off for the Pens in some way other than just one-for-one. Considering the history of the Pens and their development of players, I'd suspect Whit to remain with the Pens. For all intensive purposes, Gonchar's first season with the Pens was far from impressive as well. This is Whitney's third, and the numbers are nowhere near comparison to last season's of 14-45 for 59 points. Improvement is a necessity, but I'd say a trade is far from certain.
He'll be back soon enough. Until then, the team has to just struggle for .500 hockey. I'd hope for a better record, but when such a statement comes directly from the players and management of the team, you tend to just roll with it. Either way, .500 would keep the Pens in a healthy position for a playoff spot upon Sid's return, estimated around the end of March should the healing come along well.
His presence on the fourth line is sorely missed. Not to mention, for a guy called up just this year at the ripe old age of 21, this has got to be a disappointment. But, when you consider some of the other potential injuries haunting the Pens camp, mono doesn't seem all that bad. The worst part is - there's no estimated return as of yet.
It's safe to say the Pens haven't been lacking much in the muscle department. But, it's also safe to say that added muscle wouldn't be a bad decision. Gary's return is eminent, scheduled before the end of this month. As such, his return may boost the club's personal expectations of simply playing .500 hockey. Not to mention, it's much added leadership to the dwindling presence in the locker room.
Not going to lie. Sometimes I forget this guy is even still on the team. Prior to the All-Star break, Hall suffered a groin injury. Since then, it hasn't been discussed or mentioned by the team, broadcasters or anyone else for that matter. However, a simple day-to-day groin injury has placed him on the IR. So, to say he'll be returning soon would almost seem inaccurate. His presence on the ice is just as notable as Colby's, and potentially just as tradeable.
He's practically back in the line-up already, but definitely worth mentioning. What was onc edubbed a 4-6 week recovery took nearly 8 weeks to overcome. Granted, ankle/knee injuries for a goalie should be handled with the utmost sensitivity. The real question with regards to Fleury is this: who's going to start? Conklin has been far from flattering these past few games. He's gone 3-3-1 in the last seven, after posting a record of 10-0-1 earlier in the season. What may start as a healthy rotation of netminders, can slowly but surely transition into a starting role once again.
It's a shame Eaton had to go down the way he did, when he did. He was no doubt on pace for a stellar season, at the time leading the Pens not only in blocked shots but also in +/-. It's similarly just as unfortunate that injuries have plagued this guy in his already short career. I'd hate to think the team will part ways with him after this season, but I suppose in the world of hockey hanger-ons have no place.