The defending Stanley Cup champions Penguins are going for it again this year. Today they made an acquisition for Carolina defenseman Ron Hainsey to shore up some defensive depth. He’ll likely play on the third pairing when everyone is healthy.
They are led by superstar Sidney Crosby and sit at 2nd in the Metro with 82 points and a nice +41 goal differential. They are first in goals per game but only 16th in goals against, probably why they wanted to shore up their d-corps. With a sustainable power play ranking 6th their PK needs some work, coming in at 21st in the league.
Their forward group is stacked with Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, Hornqvist, Sheary, Rust, and even Kunitz. Their top 6 is unbelievable, really helps when you have the best player in the league.Nick Bonino has played well centering the 3rd line but I’m sure the Pens would like to see a little more production from him.
On the blue line they have stud defenseman Kris Letang and some recent acquisitions. Trevor Daley is soaking up top 2 minutes, Schultz who is currently injured is playing some good top 4 minutes and Ian Cole hasn’t been a defensive liability.
Olli Maatta who recently got injured is a young defenseman with a lot of promise and has really come into his own, even though he’s only been playing 18 minutes a night.
The goalie situation is an envious one. They have a great goalie, Fleury, backing up wonderkid Matt Murray. The goalie situation will be interesting because of the expansion draft. The Penguins need to trade Fleury either now or before the expansion draft or else lose their top netminder, Matt Murray. Murray is everything you want out of a goalie, sporting a 2.27 GAA and a .926 save %.
Fleury could fetch a good asset now, but the return wont be as great at the expansion draft. The Penguins hands will be tied in June because if they don’t deal or buyout Fleury then Murray will be scooped up by the Vegas team. The Penguins are also trying to win the cup so they may just roll with the two as insurance in case Murray gets hurt.
They just acquired Hainsey so that may be it for the Penguins.
They have all their draft picks over the next three years except the one they just gave up (a 2017 2nd round pick) and they have an additional 5th round pick via Ottawa.
They have 0 cap space at the deadline so unless they can shed some salary they are in trouble.
Carl Hagelin could be on the move since he has really underperformed but his $4MM cap hit doesn’t help things. I doubt they move him now and would expect to leave him exposed in the expansion draft.
Pittsburgh will only be making some depth moves for the rest of the deadline unless they can deal Fleury, which I doubt. Maybe a team like Dallas but then they would have to send one of their high priced goalies back, probably not a deal either team makes.
This team is good and going to compete for the cup once again. They will have a tough go with the Metro being so stacked. I think Pittsburgh may be done with trades this deadline but will be very active once the season ends.