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Report: Penguins looking to trade Brandon Sutter

According to a report, the trade of Pittsburgh Penguins center Brandon Sutter is "imminent". The Penguins are known to be in the market for a top-6 winger, and the NHL draft starts on Friday, when a flurry of trades usually are made.

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Is Bradon Sutter 's time in a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey over? Jason Mackey at the Trib thinks so:

I do think a trade involving Sutter is imminent likely*. Teams will pay for a young center, coming off a statistically strong season, with that last name.

But I don’t think the Penguins will be all that bent out of shape, especially not when you consider that they wouldn’t be paying even more of a premium to resign Sutter for 2016-17 and beyond.

(* see update at bottom of this page)

In a lot of ways, it makes sense. Other than Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot (two young players the Penguins will NOT be trading), they don't have a lot of valuable trade chips. No first round pick this year, no second next year (which means they desperately need to retain that 2016 1st rounder) and not a ton of young players that are anything close to NHL established.

With night 1 of the NHL draft right around the corner on Friday night, and the Penguins looking to make a big statement by upgrading their skill wingers to find a good option for Evgeni Malkin, it seems natural that Sutter is probably out in the next week or so.

The next obvious question becomes: for whom?

We took a look at trade targets a couple months ago, and 2 names that stand out are Loui Eriksson and TJ Oshie. Boston has a new GM and will be looking to trim their cap space, and adding Sutter boosts their center depth and purges a player in Eriksson who hasn't fit in well in Boston. St. Louis is reportedly looking to shake their team up a little after early playoff exits and is rumored to at least have feelers out on Oshie.

There's also the possibility for a guy like Radim Vrbata (who we pulled the trigger on trading Sutter for recently) and Patrick Sharp almost certainly will be traded soon. Chicago has long had issues with their center depth, adding Sutter's salary might not be their first choice, but they would clear $2.6 million dollars and at least have a young center to pencil in on their team next year. Given trade demands for Sharp, I doubt Sutter straight up is enough, but it's worth finding out.

The possibilities for a player like Sutter could be endless. He's got a 21-goal season under his belt, has a fairly reasonable salary for next season and will be desirable as an asset for other teams. It will be interesting to see what he can fetch if the Penguins elect to trade him.

And it will also open up almost literally nothing in the organization behind Malkin and Sidney Crosby at center. 21 year old prospect Oskar Sundqvist is being penciled into the 4th line in many places, but he would be a pure and true rookie next season to North American hockey. If the Pens trade Sutter, they probably need to find another trade or sign a free agent for a player who can reasonably center the 3rd line.


Mackey has walked back his comments slightly on his initial report, with a post-publish edit. He crossed out (didn't delete, mind you) the word "Imminent" and downgraded it to the word "likely" in the section that we quoted above. Good enough for us, and the same thought process is clearly in play. The Penguins want to get a top-6 winger and Sutter is by far the most common sense trading chip that the Pens have to acquire such a player.