The Pittsburgh Penguins have already mortgaged their future by picking up David Perron and Daniel Winnik, mostly for future draft picks. They might as well have no half measures (as Mike from Breaking Bad would say) and just go all the way and grab Jeff Petry from Edmonton.
And, the price might not be so much as it was for the LA Kings, who picked up Andrej Sekera from Carolina for a first round pick a few days ago.
Jeff Petry scratched for Oilers today. Sources tell me he can be had for a 2nd round pick. Wouldn't be a bad pickup for the B's #BruinsTalk— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) February 28, 2015
If that is true, that's big for the Penguins.
They shouldn't offer a 2nd round pick - they should offer better than that. A former second round pick that's already developed into a good professional player, giving Edmonton more value.
I'm talking about Brian Dumoulin.
Dumoulin, a part of Pittsburgh's return in the trade that sent Jordan Staal to Carolina, is a former second round pick himself. He's one of the best defensemen in Wilkes-Barre, in his 3rd year as a pro, and has a lot going for him. 6'4, 220 pounds, skates well, moves the puck well. But he's been buried in Pittsburgh, stuck behind Derrick Pouliot and Scott Harrington.
Do the Pens even have a place for Dumoulin going forward? He'll be waiver eligible next season and only has played 14 career NHL games in the past two seasons- all of them the direct results of Pittsburgh's blueline being really, really injured at the time. Once health returned, so too did Dumoulin to Wilkes-Barre.
Next year the Penguins have Kris Letang, Rob Scuderi, Pouliot, Harrington, Olli Maatta and Simon Despres all under contract. Robert Bortuzzo will be an RFA and easily returned under a friendly deal, if the team wants. And, who knows, Pittsburgh could even decide to bring back one veteran free-agent-to-be in Paul Martin or Christian Ehrhoff. Petry could be a target to retain as well, if the Pens acquire him. Bring back 1 of those veterans to go with the 6 under contact (and Bortuzzo) and the Pens have plenty of depth for next year. All that without even mentioning Dumoulin, who probably is right back to getting beaten by the numbers game.
Which is why the Pens should explore trading Dumoulin to Edmonton for Petry now.
If Haggs is right (and that's always a stretch), getting Dumoulin would be way better than a 2nd round pick for Edmonton as a return for Petry. Draft picks take years and years to develop and help. Dumoulin is basically NHL ready, right now. He's got great size and decent tools. He would be much more valuable than a second round pick that, chances are, won't amount to much anyways.
The Penguins have been steadfast in holding on to all their defensive prospects. But Dumoulin hasn't beat the numbers game, and will be waiver eligible next year. The Pens need to figure out where he's best used, and that probably is as trade bait.
A quote from co-owner Ron Burkle, from last year in his interview with Dejan Kovacevic has always stood out:
"We aren’t happy to be in the top quartile."
By that, he meant the Penguins were one of the final 8 teams last season, as they have been for the past few years. Ownership doesn't want to win a round or two, they want to win the whole thing.
The Penguins, as presently constituted, will not win the whole thing. They've got a great and deep forward corps now (if it all stays healthy) but they have a major disadvantage on defense. Martin/Letang make a terrific top pair. Scuderi/Despres have proved to be a solid 3rd pair. But they have no one to play with Ehrhoff on the second pair. Pouliot, while talented, is too green, and isn't ready for all that entails with being a top guy right now. Bortuzzo, while adding size and physicality isn't consistently good enough for such a role.
Trading for Jeff Petry would make the Pens good enough, on paper. From the Hockey News:
|Assets:||Is silky smooth in his own end and on the breakout. Skates well and can jump up into the play. Owns a good hard shot and offensive acumen. Works very hard.|
|Flaws:||Needs to continue filling out his big frame, step up his physicality and play a safe, disciplined game in order to maximize his National Hockey League potential.|
|Career Potential:||Solid puck-moving defenseman with some upside.|
That reads a lot like Matt Niskanen, doesn't it?
Add Petry, send Pouliot down for the year and the finances probably add up (if they have to make Edmonton retain a little of Petry's contract, make them retain a little). Dumoulin is a much better value for Edmonton than a 2nd round draft pick. Dumoulin is also not that tied to the Pens future plans.
It seems obvious. The Penguins shouldn't try to band-aid their way into the playoffs with a blueline that isn't optimal. Petry adds everything they need in a second pair. If it's a possibility to make the trade for Dumoulin straight up, they should do it. Because they're already all in, and being in the top quartile isn't enough.