Jim Rutherford joined the afternoon show of Ron Cook and Andrew Filipponi. As usual with the affiable and very open general manager, many subjects were talked upon. Here's our thoughts
#1 Sure doesn't seem like Marc-Andre Fleury is getting traded before 3/1
The ongoing saga of the season has been the trade situation surrounding now backup Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Rutherford's been very consistent in his comments, basically paraphrased that GMJR wanted to keep Fleury on the team for this season. But he understood it was a difficult situation for the best goalie in franchise history to not be able to play, so GMJR would do what he could if MAF requested to move on now.
Nothing's changed on the team's end, as Rutherford mentioned on the radio. Pittsburgh plays 16 games in March and the team knows they will need to have two goalies to get through what will be a challenging month.
#2 Don't expect a forward either
Rutherford called this current unit better than the group they had last year. With the emergence of rookie Jake Guentzel (who the team had said earlier is expected to remain in the NHL for the rest of the season), that's easy to see.
Some of us might be dreaming to swing for the fences and add a high-end talented forward, but with a tight trade market and a salary cap to consider it doesn't seem like Rutherford is all that feeling the need to address this.
#3 However, a defenseman will be brought in
Nothing really different from our story last week - the Penguins will be trying to add some help on defense prior to the March 1st trading deadline. Rutherford today made it sound like they were looking to seal the deal prior to deadline day. Reading between the lines, I would assume he is going to pull the trigger on this as soon as the deal is able to be made. Rutherford placed an emphasis on bringing in a defenseman good at penalty killing, which I'm sure will send a portion of the fanbase in uproar that he's about to dust off Doug Murray or something, but we shall see who they come up with.
#4 Great news for Justin Schultz's return
Schultz hasn't been heard from since suffering a concussion last Thursday. Rutherford was hopeful that he could play for the Penguins next game, Saturday night against the Flyers. Seems great that Schultz isn't already ruled out, and based off this new information one would assume he will be skating at least on his own (if not with the team in some form) when practice resumes tomorrow (team was off today).
#5 Schultz contract update
GMJR hasn't begun to talk contract extension for Schultz, but listed it as a priority for the off-season. Schultz will be an RFA and in-line for a raise on the $1.4 million salary he's making this season.
#6 Don't expect Rust back anytime soon
Rutherford allowed it was possible Bryan Rust (out since crashing into a goalie on 2/9) would be out for the rest of the regular season. Reading between the lines, I wouldn't expect to see Rust anytime soon. No exact injury has been announced but given he's projected to be out 2ish months, seems like something was broken somewhere in the wrist/arm.
#7 Not going to see Pouliot in the NHL soon either
Despite all the injuries, you won't be seeing Derrick Pouliot in the NHL soon either. Rutherford said they want him to have all the time possible in the AHL for development and seemed to hint that the Penguins had rushed Pouliot to the NHL too quickly in the past and that has hurt his development overall. I suppose we'll see how that goes, but the organization doesn't seem that high, at all, as Pouliot as any sort of NHL option right now.
#8 Mixed bag on Daley, Sheary news
Trevor Daley (injured last night) had an MRI but results aren't known as of now. Didn't sound too promising to me, but we will see. Conor Sheary however could be back in about a week.