A couple of interesting Penguins items in Elliotte Friedman’s latest 31 Thoughts, so let’s dive in an think about them from a local perspective.
2. I’m not convinced Toronto’s going to alter its backup situation. They just don’t seem enamoured with what’s out there. Tristan Jarry’s gone from potential trade target to Pittsburgh record-holder, with a shutout streak of 177:15 ended by the Canadiens. Until a long-term decision is made with Matt Murray, will the Penguins move either Jarry or Casey DeSmith?
It doesn’t take much looking (including on our own network recently) to link the Pens’ surplus in having three NHL worthy goalies and to team’s like Toronto who need a backup.
But, like Friedman notes, even if the Maple Leafs were interested in a trade, there’s no real motivation for Pittsburgh to be. First, goalies just don’t get traded for much. The most recent example of this was an Arizona-Detroit deal that sent Eric Comrie (who was seen as a peer and comparable to Jarry before this season) to Detroit in exchange for defenseman Vili Saarijarvi. If you’re saying, “who?”, then, yeah, that’s the point. Saarijarvi is probably closer to playing in the ECHL than the NHL.
The Pens’ problems were solved when DeSmith cleared waivers. They’re not in a salary cap crunch. They have no motivation to trade a goalie any longer, unless they get a big value offer, which doesn’t really ever happen for goalies.
Quite to the contrary, for Pittsburgh right now it’s an advantageous position to sit on three NHL-caliber goalies and be able to keep for insurance purposes in case of an injury. And if anyone knows general manager Jim Rutherford, of course he loves his goalie depth.
So short of an injury that requires the Pens to recall DeSmith (and even then, they can manipulate the “emergency recall” situation a bit), there’s no longer any real strain or factor to hurry them into dealing a goalie until at least next training camp when they’ll presumably be in the same situation last year of worrying about waiving the lesser performing goalie between DeSmith and Jarry.
15. Even before Jim Rutherford told The Athletic’s Josh Yohe that Alex Galchenyuk may not fit in Pittsburgh’s top 12 forwards, the Penguins were testing the market on the winger. Buffalo has considered it. There were rumblings about Ottawa, but a few sources pooh-poohed that.
We’ve heard a bit of Buffalo before, Ottawa would be an interesting name to get into the Alex Galchenyuk-out-of-Pittsburgh trade that sure looks like it’s bound to happen sooner than later. They’re such an out-of-the-box organization though, who knows what they would do. Would they be interested in trading a Vladislav Namestinkov or even a J.P. Pageau? All are impending free agents. Would the Pens take a young piece for Galchenyuk, content to just clear the cap space with more in mind to come? It opens up a lot of different possibilities.
Friedman hushes, or I guess “pooh poohs” the talk of Ottawa’s interest, but the bigger picture to keep in mind is that have the 25-year old Galchenyuk’s name out there — which by now it certainly is — could lead to some interesting teams calling Pittsburgh up.
It’s really interesting because I’m not quite sure what you can say Galchenyuk’s value is. We’re now light years (in hockey terms anyways) from when he was a No. 2 overall pick, and starting to get very far from his one real productive season in 2015-16 for Montreal.
He also is a free agent in July. Maybe that’s good that he doesn’t have any extra, expensive term tying a team down, but there’s no security in that either for the team that acquires him. Particularly if you’re a place like Bufffalo or Ottawa where good free-agent age players usually LEAVE and not arrive at, perhaps there would be reluctance in thinking Galchenyuk would abandon ship to a better team if he performs well down the stretch.
And there’s also what does Pittsburgh want to accomplish? Can they get a valuable piece for him? There’s not too many similar “talented but hasn’t found a niche at age 25 despite carrying a almost $5m salary and free agent in six months” type of player to make for a natural, equal swap out there.
This whole situation could develop in any number of ways and could be crucial for how the Pens’ season shapes out. If Rutherford can parlay Galchenyuk (and really read that as the not insignificant salary cap space Galchenyuk occupies) into a valuable skilled winger through one or two moves before the deadline, that would be very helpful for the team’s playoff run.
19. Nasreddine played 74 NHL games. He scored his only goal while a Penguin, in his hometown of Montreal on Dec. 16, 2006. It came at 19:59 of the first period. “I got so much grief for the celebration,” he said. “I never, ever left the blue line, but because there were only five seconds left in the period, that was time to take a chance. There were so many good stories about that night. First, because of the time, you’re not sure it counts, so you’re waiting for confirmation. To have my family there to see it, that was special.”
One family member who couldn’t be in attendance was brother Samy, who played professionally for more than 20 years, everywhere from Peoria to Soenderjyske in Denmark. At the time, Samy was playing for the Coventry Blaze of the British Elite Ice Hockey League. “He stayed up late and called some of my friends who were watching the game. When I scored, they all went berserk. They told him what happened, and he said, ‘Yeah right, settle down.’ He didn’t believe it. Teammates were all over me, saying this is proof Sidney Crosby is such a great player, because he could help you score a goal. It was unreal. Usually when we lost a game, I took it pretty hard. This night, you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.”
A nice note (and a few more) on the Devils’ new interim coach in former Pens’ defenseman Alain Nasreddine who definitely seems like a good guy that’s made it a long way after a lot of work.