A lot of rumors lately have seemed to center around trading Paul Martin for another winger, particularly to the Los Angeles Kings, who probably want to upgrade their puck-moving defensemen in the wake of the Slava Voynov domestic abuse case.
We've talked about the possibility of trading Martin a bunch of times before, but with the trade deadline just over 7 weeks away (Monday March 2) it will have an increasing focus.
Pensburgh commenter Crosby'sRatStache really hit one out of the park yesterday with this comment:
Pretend the Pens’ roster is the same, except without Martin:
Looking at that roster, which do you think the Pens need more, another top 4 Dman, or another top 6 winger?
CRS makes an excellent point- that lineup above could really use Paul Martin; who was the leading shot-blocker, penalty kill player, top pairing defenseman on the team before he was injured.
Martin will almost surely walk away for nothing this summer, but in the big picture that is OK. He was signed as a free agent so it's not like the Penguins lose anything. If anything, they will gain some cap space and a roster space for one of Derrick Pouliot, Scott Harrington or Brian Dumoulin to jump into.
There's no doubt a Pens team that has to rely on Olli Maatta (with a bum shoulder) and Simon Despres in the top 4 would not be a good situation. That situation also involves Robert Bortuzzo having to play every single playoff game as the #6 guy, which also seems dicey.
From the comment above, plug Martin in with Kris Letang (who are very, very good together both this season and also last year) and that would make a dynamite #1 pair. It also bumps down Maatta, Despres and Rob Scuderi to better slotted in positions to succeed with stronger partners and/or better assignments. Ditto Christian Ehrhoff.
It would be nice to add a legit top 6 forward, but under the salary cap that probably isn't feasible without a sacrifice. The Penguins have to be smart, they can't sacrifice defense to overload offense. With David Perron added to the mix, Pittsburgh has all firepower they should need. Let one of Blake Comeau , Beau Bennett or Steve Downie fill out what is already a loaded top 6- they can rotate that third guy and find who is hot (like Comeau was early) and who can help.
Defense wins championships, and barring an outrageous offer, the Pens best chance seems like holding on to Paul Martin.