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Trade Rumors: Penguins were in on Grabner, but potentially pulled out for better try at Brassard

Sources confirmed GM Rutherford was in on acquiring Grabner until New Jersey came out on top, but it may have been to save assets and go after Brassard even harder.

Ottawa Senators v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Seven Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Rumors are swirling around a handful of sources claiming that GM Jim Rutherford and the Penguins were definitely in on acquiring Michael Grabner until the winger officially got shipped off to New Jersey Thursday night for a second rounder and a semi-well regarded puck-moving defenseman prospect in Yegor Rykov.

This isn’t all that surprising given what Pittsburgh truly needs to add to its roster. That attempt and strategy to bring in the Rangers forward may have changed due to Rutherford’s potential new motive in going all in assets-wise on Senators center Derick Brassard.

Rutherford’s reluctancy makes a ton of sense whenever you get down to the nitty gritty. The Penguins, a team on an absolute tear right now, don’t need to add huge pieces down the stretch to guarantee success, but what they do need is a bottom-six center. Why not try to capitalize on Ottawa’s fire sale and bring in a really good one and take a chance on a three-peat while the opportunity presents itself?

As a reminder, Brassard’s contract would have the Penguins responsible for $5 million both this year and next, as he becomes a unrestricted free agent in 2019-20 — we touched on this a couple days ago. The ask for him is not small, which is why I agree with Dreger about how Rutherford gave up on Grabner to wrangle his assets in a try for Brassard. There’s still a possibility the center comes cheaper if Rutherford can maneuver a deal. He’s been successful in doing so in the past.

Not to mention, and this is just for fun, re-establishing the once highly-touted HBK line with Brassard in Nick Bonino’s old spot. Just some food for thought.

This little tid bit from Dreger also showed up today for all of us to chew on:

The trade deadline is next Monday, so expect things to start moving very quickly this upcoming weekend. Brassard looks like he’s going to be moved in the next couple days, if not sooner (it might even happen tonight!), so keep your eyes peeled.

Switching gears, our friends over at Silver Seven put out a thoughts post discussing their speculations on the aforementioned fire sale going on with Eugene Melnyk and the Senators. At the end of the post, the author put out his two cents, saying something quite intriguing:

“I’ll say that Johnny Oduya goes to Philadelphia for a 6th round pick, Zack Smith goes to Vegas for a 2nd, and Derick Brassard goes to Pittsburgh for Tristan Jarry and a 4th. Obviously these are just semi-educated guesses, and getting Jarry might be unrealistic, but I’m curious to see if any of them are close at all.”

Rutherford mentioned a few times in media conferences and radio interviews about how he’s committed to keeping all of his current goaltenders, including prospect Filip Gustavsson. But how true to his word will he be come crunch time? Jarry would be a big name drop in talks with such a volatile goalie market out there currently, but is it worth it to sell off one of Pittsburgh’s back-up goaltenders so close to the playoffs when depth, especially in net, is paramount to winning multiple seven-game series if it comes to that?

I’m completely against sending Jarry to another team this close to the postseason, and Rutherford has always been an extremely transparent GM and wouldn’t go on record saying he’d keep his goalie corps and then tear it all down at the deadline, but everything right now is speculation.

Who’s to say he won’t?