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Penguins trade rumors: Riley Sheahan to Pittsburgh inching closer?

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The long-awaited addition of a center for the Penguins seems like it’s inching towards being Detroit’s Riley Sheahan

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

For well over a week now, there have been rumblings in the media about the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins making a trade. That’s heated up more yesterday with Elliotte Friedman speaking directly ot it in his 31 Thoughts column:

Ferris also represents Andreas Athanasiou. The longer this takes, the more you think a Detroit-Pittsburgh trade is contingent on his signing with the Red Wings. At his season-opening media conference, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford indicated there were three options for the Penguins to consider. Riley Sheahan is one, and I think the parameters are all but agreed to. (I’m wondering if Derrick Pouliot is a possibility, he seems like a sensible gamble for Detroit.) But, I don’t know how the Red Wings feel about potentially losing both Athanasiou and Sheahan, which could be holding up the deal. Of course, Pittsburgh could decide to move on, too.

6. Part II of this whole scenario is the Penguins may be waiting to figure out this move before making Evgeni Malkin happy and taking the plunge with Danis Zaripov.

This would mimic what the Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey apparently said on local 93.7 The Fan on Wednesday morning- Sheahan to Pittsburgh after Detroit signs Athanasiou, with the return including Pouliot.

Since Pens GM Jim Rutherford claims to have 3 options as trade possibilities, and with all the smoke around this, one would have to think that Sheahan is at least among the final options. Detroit has some pieces in play too, with Athanasiou being stubborn on his contract negotiation which it remains unknown when or if he will be signing with the Red Wings for this season. Pittsburgh, for their part, might just move onto one of the other options if the opportunity presents as well.

It would be odd to see the Pens move on from Pouliot like this with a whimper but coach Mike Sullivan has shown almost no confidence or faith in him for NHL roster decisions in the regular season. If that was going to be the case again this year, perhaps it would be wise to just trade him now, get a NHL caliber center that the team so badly needs and move on. However, that removes a talented depth defenseman which could be costly when/if multiple injuries strike the blueline as typically happens every season in Pittsburgh.

As far as Friedman’s bullet 6, that would be an interesting turn of events too. The Pens have no shortage of NHL caliber forwards, but they prefer to use natural left wings Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary both with Sidney Crosby.

This leaves the best regular left wingers left on the team as Carl Hagelin, Scott Wilson and Tom Kuhnhackl. Not exactly great options for Evgeni Malkin’s line. Zaripov is productive but an unknown, and according to Friedman from a previous week

teams have been told that Zaripov isn’t interested in holding them hostage. If he signs a contract and it doesn’t work, he is prepared to walk away.

That’s a very encouraging attitude which would make him a more attractive option, provided it’s true. That would make for a low-risk, potential decent-reward to add a scoring line LW, probably for cheap and as a free agent. Of course, the opportunity cost of adding Zaripov would mean an extra forward (like Kuhnhackl) will be cut, and potentially lost on waivers. Is the risk worth the reward? About impossible to say since Zaripov has no NHL track record to judge on. He also doesn’t speak English, perhaps navigable since Malkin and assistant coach Sergei Gonchar can assist, but still an extra challenge.

Even though the Zaripov nugget may grab attention, the more actionable news should be that Friedman and Mackey have both spoken about in the potential Sheahan to Pittsburgh trade being apparently pretty far along in the process and potentially about to happen.

UPDATE: Our SBN sister website Winging it in Motown confirms with sources in the Detroit organization that there is a “deal in place” to send Sheahan to Pittsburgh...