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What is remaining on Jim Rutherford’s shopping list?

Maybe another defenseman? Maybe another forward? Maybe nothing?

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2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Media Day Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford stayed true to his playbook and made his big trade weeks ahead of the NHL trade deadline when he acquired Jason Zucker from the Minnesota Wild.

With three goals and four total points in his first four games with the team Zucker is already looking like a fit alongside Sidney Crosby, giving the Penguins the speedy winger they needed for both the short-term and long-term.

Even with that move completed the Penguins still have some short-term needs and a pretty decent bit of salary cap space to work with before Monday.

If I were a betting man I would say that Trader Jim has at least one more move up his sleeve to help round out his roster.

Maybe even two moves.

Let’s start on the blue line.

I imagine a lot of this will depend on Brian Dumoulin’s timeline as the playoffs get closer. At this point he does not seem to be close to a return, and with John Marino out of the lineup for a few weeks there is obviously a short-term need there. You know Rutherford loves to have options on defense, especially given the number of defensemen they may have to use for a potentially extended playoff run. Even with his strong underlying numbers the Penguins do not seem to fully trust Juuso Riikola to take on a bigger role, and even though my opinion counts for nothing in these matters I do not fully trust Justin Schultz given the way his season has progressed.

There is a need for some depth there.

Assuming Dumoulin and Marino can be back before the playoffs (and assuming nobody else gets injured — knock on wood) the need would not be for any sort of impact player because the Penguins would still have their rock solid top-four and at least some options to put together a functional third-pairing.

The problem I see here: I don’t see a lot of great options, and the prices for even rentals seem to be outrageous (did you see what St. Louis gave up for Marco Scandella, for example?). If everyone is healthy they may go forward with what they have on defense. But again, a lot of that depends on what they think the status of Dumoulin (and maybe even to a lesser extent Marino) will be before Monday.

Then we get to the forwards.

Zucker obviously helps fix a lot of things and extend the lineup a bit, but it is not a complete lineup just yet.

The fourth line has been a point of concern for a while now, and with Zach Aston-Reese sidelined for a couple weeks there could be an even bigger need for some added depth.

The good news here is there quite a few intriguing options that could be available.

Ottawa is almost certain to move Vladislav Namestnikov, a skilled forward that hasn’t fully panned out as a top-liner, but has plenty of versatility as a center or wing that can provide some offense and not hurt you at the other end of the ice.

Melker Karlsson will be on the move from San Jose, and I also liked Sean Gentille’s suggestion over at The Athletic this week of calling up old friend Jason Botterill in Buffalo and checking in on Johan Larsson.

Honestly, I could see this being the far more likely outcome before 3 p.m. ET on Monday. A forward. Even before Aston-Reese’s injury there was still a need for some added depth to help give them the four-line rotation they want, and there are options available.

Rutherford already made his big trade.

But I do not think it is going to be his only trade.


What should the Pittsburgh Penguins add before Monday?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Another Forward
    (653 votes)
  • 49%
    Another Defenseman
    (1042 votes)
  • 20%
    Nothing At All
    (428 votes)
2123 votes total Vote Now