Are the Blackhawks stepping up their efforts to acquire a defenseman for the stretch run?
There were plenty of rumors Monday pointing in that direction.
There were eyebrows raised in Pittsburgh on Monday night when defenseman Jay McKee was a healthy scratch against Buffalo. Could McKee be headed to the Hawks?
The 32-year-old McKee is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound physical, stay-at-home defenseman who interested the Hawks last summer before he signed as a free agent with the Penguins for only $800,000 after being bought out by St. Louis.
Sounds like wishful thinking, eh? Behind the jump let's look at the 4 key reasons why Chicago won't be getting Jay McKee for the 2009-10 season.
#1 - Why would the Penguins trade McKee to a possible opponent?
--It's putting the cart waaaaay too in front of the horse to suggest a possible Pittsburgh/Chicago SCF matchup, but it's possible. Both teams are contenders, and in the hunt for the Stanley Cup. McKee is a valuable player, it doesn't make sense for Pittsburgh to deal him in the first place, let alone trade him to a team that could be standing in the way to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.
#2 - The Penguins knew what they were getting into when the signed McKee.
--McKee's situation was unique this summer: he didn't need to put an emphasis on money, but rather repairing his reputation and restoring his status after being bought out by the St. Louis Blues. Since the Blues have to pay him $1.33 million this season and next, he could afford to go to a solid team, and he chose Pittsburgh.
The Pens, for their part, knew going in they're getting a player at a value rate, but when his profile rose, he'd likely walk. Also, does one think that Pittsburgh signed McKee to play for them from October to January? Quite the opposite is true, they'll need McKee for February to the end of the season.
#3 - If anything the players are looking to add another defensive defenseman, not trade one away.
--Does anyone really think the Penguins would go into the playoffs with Ben Lovejoy or Martin Skoula as the #6 defenseman? No way.
Of course, moving McKee might be a part of more deals to come, but Pittsburgh is right against the salary cap. They can't afford to bring in another defenseman for near the $800,000 that McKee makes. Trading away McKee just doesn't make sense for Pittsburgh, there's no way they can trade him and hope to have a defensive corps good enough to make a deep Cup run.
#4 - Sassone says McKee was a healthy scratch on Monday....The Penguins website says he was injured.
--The key to this whole wishful thinking exercise was that the Pens made McKee a healthy scratch Monday....The only problem, he's reported to be injured (see under "Intruiging Notables"). Is that short notice, giving little information and a little cryptic? Yes.
Is that totally in line with bout 85% of the Penguins injury history? Yes.
So dream on Chicago scribes, but you'd be better suited setting your sights on other defensemen....Because all signs point to the Penguins not dealing Jay McKee.