Today is the day that makes NHL fans feel like kid on Christmas morning. Contending teams gear up at the trade deadline to make their current teams as strong as possible. Lower teams sell off veteran parts for the promise of young players and draft picks for the future.
The suspense will go right up to the 3:00 pm eastern time deadline, and even past it as details and finalization of last minute deals often don’t trickle out until minutes or even hours after the deadline.
For the Pittsburgh Penguins, the deadline hits at a crossroads of the season. Six regular players are currently out with injury. They’ve achieved their most necessary task by replacing Jake Guentzel in the top-six with Jason Zucker. By doing this, they’ve used up with little trade capital they had by dealing prospect Calen Addison and their first round pick this summer. They don’t have their second round pick either this year.
But the Pens don’t seem like they’re done just yet. With all their injuries, they might consider adding defensive depth. A key to the day was already decided yesterday when former Buffalo defenseman Zach Bogosian, who is a free agent, decided to join Tampa. By all accounts the Pens are among the teams with interest in Bogosian, so they will have to move onto a backup plan if they want to add a defenseman to the mix.
Version II, later in the night: Barrie/CAL/Vegas/CAR/EDM/PIT/Bogosian/Trevor Lewis -- https://t.co/FlyR1hYTZm— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 23, 2020
In that same report, Elliotte Friedman also mentioned the Pens’ interest in familiar foe Wayne Simmonds from New Jersey. There have also been whispers from national sources like Friedman that Pittsburgh has shown interest in another even more familiar forward in Conor Sheary.
Based on Rutherford’s comments in the last few days and weeks leading up to today’s deadline it does seem likely that he will be looking to add a forward at some point.
However, despite riding a three game losing streak, there’s little reason to expect panic and a ton of activity to shuffle out several roster players. Coach Mike Sullivan felt pretty upbeat about the way the team played on Sunday in Washington.
Coach Sullivan: “I thought we played on our toes, we were skating, we moved our feet. The power play was good. We didn’t score but we did everything but score. There was a lot to like about this game and that’s what I told the guys afterward.” -MC— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) February 23, 2020
Major overhauls won’t be required, but adding depth this time of year is always necessary. Especially with such a banged up roster over the course of this season.
It will be very interesting around the league to see what rival teams do and which major moves are made. The Pens figure to be in the mix somewhere along the action, but probably not as high-end as they have been in years past when they’ve made huge trades. That mission was already accomplished upon the acquisition of Zucker. Depth and filling