It’s the week before the NHL trade deadline and rumors are of course flying around fast and furious. Elliote Friedman’s latest 31 Thoughts only has a few mentioned of the Pittsburgh Penguins as the deadline approach, but they are juicy!
Zuccarello and Wayne Simmonds may have to wait until the Duchene/Stone/Panarin situations settle. A mix of similar teams looking at both: Boston, Calgary, San Jose, maybe Pittsburgh and Vegas.
That’s a lot of teams looking for just a couple of players, which means a lot of them will be left standing when the trade deadline comes around.
And, really, I’d pump the breaks on being too excited about this. From Phil Kessel to Bryan Rust to Patric Hornqvist (and possibly Nick Bjugstad) the Pens have all the right wings they need and more.
Hornqvist in particular is pretty much the same player as Simmonds for the tough-as-nails right shot right wing that drives to the net, net-front on the power play.
There’s also the matter that the Flyers have a known mandate to charge Pittsburgh higher than normal prices in trades (as the Mark Streit 2017 negotiation proved) so that’s another reason to not expect Simmonds in Pittsburgh.
Also, not for nothing, this 30-year old beat up version of Simmonds probably isn’t as sterling of a player as reputation, history and memory tells you he is. His 1.17 points/60 at even strength this season ranks 303rd out of 388 forwards in the league (minimum 300 minutes played). Simmonds can still get to the net and score on the power play but he’s a redundant piece that the Pens already have in Hornqvist as a limited ES right wing.
The trade price for Simmonds most likely will exceed the value he’s bringing to the ice, so Pittsburgh is perhaps better off letting one of those other teams meet it.
As far as Zuccarello though, he had an awesome audition (if you want to call it that) on Sunday in Pittsburgh. He was the Rangers best player on the ice. His puck skills would add to any team’s top six.
That would be the direction the Pens are best served going, if they are looking to add up front, which in and of itself is still questionable for need as well as dwindling remaining trade pieces.
As Friedman also points out, the temptation to deal a first round pick for a rental might have been taken out of the Pens’ hands by Carolina’s great recent play.
Can Carolina, one point out of the playoffs and creating some excitement in the market, really trade Micheal Ferland? Eight points in his last eight games. The Hurricanes certainly can’t send him to Pittsburgh, which has been interested.
The idea of Ferland to Pittsburgh was a good one and definitely had some movement behind the scenes, but it’s not going to come to pass. The Pens will have to shift gears to find a player on a team they’re not competing with down the stretch if they want to add.