Pittsburgh Penguins rumors: Pens to lose Niskanen, Jokinen to free agency

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The Pens admit that they're likely to lose Matt Niskanen and Jussi Jokinen to free agency...And why trading the first round pick might not be a bad idea.

The Trib's Josh Yohe got some more quotes from Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford today. In keeping with the recent trend, the news isn't encouraging.

Rutherford said on Monday that unrestricted free agents Matt Niskanen and Jussi Jokinen, in particular, will likely play elsewhere next season.

Niskanen and Jokinen increased their respective values by having excellent 2013-14 seasons.

"I've talked with them," Rutherford said. "I think both players would like to return. But they're also coming off good years.

It's time for them to hit free agency and get their big contracts. With that being said, we'll see what happens leading up to free agency."

Rutherford declined to comment on defenseman Brooks Orpik, another unrestricted free agent.

Not terribly unexpected, but is there a reason why they haven't traded the rights to either one yet, especially Niskanen?

Perhaps the value is shot, since Niskanen will be the premiere defenseman on the free agent market, and unlikely to sign with anyone before July 1, but it never hurts to try. If Pittsburgh doesn't want Niskanen or Jokinen, they should try to get something of value out of either before they go.

More than likely, however, with Niskanen being the prize defenseman on the market, he's going to wait and see what is out there for him. If that's the case, there's no way he has any value to be traded at this point.

Rutherford also shed some light on his plans entering this weekend's NHL Draft in Philadelphia.

Rutherford said the Penguins are willing to trade their first-round selection - the 22nd overall pick - in return for a player who can help them win in the short term.

"We will trade that pick if it can help us get a player who can help us immediately," Rutherford said.

A lot of Penguins fans on social media are jumping off the cliff on this one, but I can't say I'm with them on this. Sure, ideally the Pens keep their pick, take a stud and watch him quickly grow into a cheap NHL caliber player.

But reality says it will be at least a handful of years before this draft pick is a key player, if he ever develops into it.

This situation reminds me of the 2011 Washington Capitals, who traded their 26th overall pick to Chicago for Troy Brouwer. Chicago drafted forward Phillip Danault. Since the trade, Danault just turned pro, and only scored 6 goals + 20 assists in 72 games in the AHL in 2013-14, making him still a project for an NHL job.

Browuer, then 25 at the time of the trade, has gone on to give the Caps a useful 2nd line winger that has scored 62 goals and 109 points in 2.5 seasons.That's size, skill and production they would not have had if they kept their first round pick.

Sometimes it's better to grab a known quantity and get a sure-fire NHL caliber player, rather than a take crapshoot chance of a draft pick who may (or may not) develop into a useful NHL player in several years. And given that the Pens will not have Jokinen next year and need to stock their 3rd line as well, they definitely have the need for more NHL caliber players right now.

If the Pens can get a quality NHL player on a decent contract, they should definitely consider trading their first round pick. That doesn't have to be a bad thing at all and could prove to be beneficial in the short and long-term, if the right player is acquired.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join PensBurgh

You must be a member of PensBurgh to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at PensBurgh. You should read them.

Join PensBurgh

You must be a member of PensBurgh to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at PensBurgh. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker