The Pittsburgh Penguins haven’t looked like themselves so far this season and GM Jim Rutherford appears to be exploring potential trades that could spark his team.
One of those trades almost saw Matt Duchene moving to Pennsylvania instead of Ottawa.
“I think when it was uncertain if the Nashville-Ottawa-Colorado three-way [trade] was going to get done, I think Pittsburgh made a last-second offer to try and get Duchene,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said during the Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada Saturday. “Obviously it didn’t work and the three-way happened.”
While the Penguins missed out on Duchene, they will still be working the phones before the trade deadline. According to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, the two highest priorities for Rutherford are an experienced backup goalie and some more veteran skaters.
“There’s a lot of concerns,” Kypreos said.
While Matt Murray’s strong play made Marc-Andre Fleury available in the expansion draft, the Penguins haven’t found a replacement backup yet. They began the season with Antti Niemi, but after three ugly starts he was exposed on waivers and claimed by the Florida Panthers.
Since then they’ve had top-prospect Tristan Jarry serving as backup, but at only 22 years old the Penguins would rather have someone with more experience in that role.
“[Rutherford] doesn’t want a player of that calibre missing out on his development,” Kypreos said. “He’d much rather have him in Wilkes-Barre [in the AHL] and find an NHL-experienced goaltender to backup Matt Murray.”
Kypreos added that team captain Sidney Crosby, who entered Saturday on a 10-game goalless streak, was missing some of the veterans who left during the off-season. Citing specifically Nick Bonino, Matt Cullen and Chris Kunitz, Kypreos said the Penguins will be looking to replace some of their free agent losses in the trade market.
“Certainly it’s been noted by Jimmy Rutherford that between now and the trade deadline, maybe a little bit more experience and leadership could come back in,” he said.