Elliotte Friedman’s 32 Thoughts column only had one note regarding the Penguins this week, but it was a good one:
7. A couple of sources have told me to “stand down” on Marcus Pettersson and Vancouver rumours.
Trade talk and Pettersson is nothing new, rumors about his availability have been floating around for a long time. Pettersson was believed to be in the talks (to some level of seriousness) for the eventual trade this summer that ended up sending Mike Matheson to Montreal.
But, right now, a trade to Vancouver doesn’t make sense. One only has to look as far as the salary cap — Pittsburgh has just over $80,000 in cap space. Vancouver has exactly $0 in cap space after becoming the first team in NHL history to maximize their LTIR salary relief to every single available dollar.
Based on that alone, a Penguins/Canucks trade doesn’t look very likely, the salaries going each way would have to line up almost exactly to thread the needle.
Friedman spoke about the topic earlier on the radio yesterday and may have given a bit more detail:
Friedman on TJMS on Canucks: "I know there's been a lot of talk about the possibility of Marcus Pettersson out there, someone threw cold water on that to me last night".— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) October 10, 2022
Salary issues aside, the Penguins also need Pettersson to finally establish himself as a steady defender they can put in an important role and not need to shelter on the third pair, which has often been the position he’s slid into late in the season.
Associate coach Todd Reirden summed up what the team is looking for from Pettersson recently to the Trib:
“Just consistent play from him. Every play, it looks a little different for. And for him, especially in his role that he’s been currently cast in, is being in that top-four, being able to play against the other team’s top players or second-tier players and being consistent shift to shift. That’s defending first and making sure that he’s a reliable, dependable guy that can play in that top four. He’s had a really good training camp and taken this challenge thus far of being with Jeff [Petry] to start with here.”
Coming into the season, it sounds like Pettersson at least understands where he stands and has a good grasp on things.
“In this sport and in this league, you’ve always got to perform every day to be where you want to be,” Pettersson said. “It’s a performance-driven league. You’ve got to take each day as your last kind of and keep getting better. There’s always going to be talks, and I’ve been through that for a couple years now. I can only control what I can and try to look at it that way.”
If the rumors and reports are true, it’s looking like he’ll have that chance to try and get better with the Penguins for the start of this season.