Each offseason, Frank Seravalli of TSN puts together a trade board of players he feels could be potentially on the move. With the Stanley Cup playoffs creeping towards the conference finals and a full blown offseason not far behind, Seravalli revealed his first “Trade Bait” list as the calendar flipped to September.
Servalli’s list is always a good representation of players either on the move, or at least in discussion, “bait” as he aptly calls it. Last year in his initial off-season list in mid-May he had 15 players named. Over half (8/15) of the group, including Phil Kessel and Olli Maatta, were traded in the offseason. Two more, including Jason Zucker, were also traded during the 2019-20 season.
So it’s fair to say that history has shown names appearing on Servalli’s list are credible and certainly viable options to switch teams in the near future. There isn’t a guarantee that all will be moving, but there definitely is credible smoke around them all and this is good intel to see which players are available or what teams are thinking about specific players as they move forward.
This year, most of the discussion on Seravalli’s debut list surrounded the inclusion superstar Patrik Laine in Winnipeg, there are a few names on the list that should catch the eye of Penguins fans — including the player listed at the very top. Seravalli placed Penguins goaltender Matt Murray as the top trade bait piece on his board, with teammates Kris Letang and Jared McCann joining him further down.
Having Murray on the list should come as a surprise to no one, and given Seravalli’s connections within the NHL, it should give some indication as to which way the Penguins are leaning in terms of which goaltender they are looking to move. Placing Murray at the very top only ups the confidence that Murray’s time in Pittsburgh is likely over and Tristan Jarry will be the new No. 1 next season.
Before we get to the obvious head turner for the Penguins on Seravalli’s list, let’s jump down to Jared McCann and discuss his inclusion. It certainly looks like McCann won’t be the answer to the Penguins hole at the 3C position, but his skill set and style of play seems to fit with what the Penguins are trying to do. This also isn’t the first time recently that national rumors have listed the Pens as “testing the market” for McCann, either.
Having McCann on the list makes sense given Monday’s report from Elliotte Friedman that the Penguins were at least testing the waters on a potential McCann trade but as of now that remains just a rumor.
Knowing what we know, Murray and McCann being included by Seravalli makes sense, but it’s the third Penguins player on the list that will likely draw the most debate from the fan base. That player is defenseman Kris Letang, sitting at No. 10 on the board, behind another familiar yet surprising name.
It feels like we have this conversation nearly every offseason with Letang, but perhaps there is actually some traction this time around. Moving a high salary player fits with the Penguins reported plan to spend below the cap next season, but this is still their top defenseman being discussed here.
Of the three Penguins on the list, Letang is the only one not to have any rumored trade talk linked to him by a credible source thus far, but that could change at any time. Seravalli is a well connected member of the media and doesn’t seem like the type to throw names out there just to get clicks. If he has Letang on his trade board, then it’s worth keeping an eye on as the offseason progresses, even if GM Jim Rutherford has given word that Letang along with Evgeni Malkin wouldn’t be “actively” shopped by the Pens this offseason. Letang also holds an 18-team no trade clause, which also could make moving him prohibitive, if not impossible, for Pittsburgh.
Two other names on the board that might interest Penguins fans are Max Domi and former Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Domi has been connected to the Penguins in the past and plays a fast style that could work in Pittsburgh. He will need a new contract, but for the right price, might be someone the Penguins look at.
As for Fleury, his time in Vegas has suddenly been thrown into turmoil after an ill-advised tweet from his agent last week accused the Golden Knights of stabbing Fleury in the back for starting Robin Lehner over him in the playoffs. Fleury attempted to do some damage control after the incident, but it remains to be seen if the relationship can be mended after the season is over.
Certainly not all these players will be traded, and this is just the first go around for Seravalli this offseason, but he does have a track record of getting more of these right than not, so it will be interesting to watch play out over the next several weeks and offseason plans come into view for all teams.