The Pittsburgh Penguins snapped a first five-game losing streak Saturday night with a 4-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes, but that didn’t solve all of the team’s problems.
General manager Jim Rutherford tore into his club earlier this week during an interview with Pittsburgh radio station 105.9 The X, saying roster changes could be around the corner if the team doesn’t turn things around and that the team has begun receiving calls from around the league.
One player in particular who has received attention and one the Pens are willing to move on from is 21-year-old forward Daniel Sprong, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.
The Penguins used a second-round pick to select the Dutch winger in 2015 but he has yet to establish himself as an everyday NHL player. Sprong has just four assists and a minus-4 rating in 12 games this season and nine total points in 38 career NHL games over the past four seasons.
“We hoped Sprong would be in the top nine,” Rutherford said in the radio interview. “He hasn’t jumped ahead of anybody on the right side so he’s playing on the fourth line. It’s not ideal.”
The team is looking for secondary scoring to supplement the consistent production it sees from star players Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Kris Letang.
“It’s almost like the guys come to the game and say, ‘Let’s just let the top guys do it. Let Sid and Geno and Phil and Letang carry us and we’ll just get through the game and move on to the next game,’ and forget about the work ethic it takes or forget about the role they play,” Rutherford added.