The 2018 offseason is about to start to pick up with the draft being less then a month away. Rumors will swirl and players will be dealt leading up to and throughout the draft. It’s an exciting time for hockey as players find new teams and teams acquire different players. Which players will the Penguins acquire or trade away? Well that’s the question as rumors have not surfaced of players the Pens are interested in. Here are some teams that could make good trade partners with for the Penguins. With Phil Kessel being mentioned in trade talks, I will include some teams that would be directed towards him.
Why would the Penguins make a deal with one of the league’s worst teams? Well, for many reasons. They can dump salary to clear up some cap space. There is also the connection of Coyotes’ head coach Rick Tocchet and his former employer in Pittsburgh. He could want some of the Penguins players rumored to be on the block for their cap hits like Conor Sheary or Carl Hagelin.
Nashville is the first team that would be an interesting match for Kessel. Maybe the Kessel talk is just noise and months from now he will still be a Penguin. But if he is dealt then do the Predators look for more scoring? Would they bring back that Bonino-Kessel connection? Who knows but if the Penguins were looking to upgrade defense then Nashville would be the perfect match as they have a wealth of great defensemen.
Chicago is interesting to me as no players they have really seem like an interesting fit on the Penguins. But the Blackhawks need scoring and might pay a price for a player of Kessel’s caliber. The Penguins were rumored to have gone after Brandon Saad before they landed Kessel. Saad doesn’t have as great of production as Kessel but he performs in the playoffs. Again, it would have to be Saad plus for Kessel if this would occur. Saad carries a 6 million cap hit for 3 more years.
I listed this team because they’re desperate for scoring and their GM is the former assistant of the Penguins. Jason Botterill had a bad first year as GM but has the first overall pick in this year’s draft. It is another former Penguins connection but the Sabres just may not have the pieces for the Penguins’ liking. Buffalo could be another team that wants players that carry high cap hits on the Penguins. This is to free up cap space again like the Coyotes could help the Penguins do.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues are another interesting team to me. They have good defensemen but not a ton of scoring wingers when it comes to depth. This team almost made the playoffs. Could Kessel be of interest to them? Yes, but that could be said about almost every team in the NHL. The Blues have good defense and if the Penguins were looking for an upgrade at that position then they could be calling this offseason.
The connection here is obvious with Jim Rutherford working in Raleigh before he became the GM of the Penguins. The Canes are currently in a fire sale. So that team will be in the rumor mill and making deals all offseason and throughout the season. They want to trade players and start a rebuild. The have a lot of attractive forwards and a plethora of wealth when it comes to defense. They could be a good trade partner especially if they’re willing to retain salary on players to help with the Penguins cap situation.
Trades are always impossible to predict unless you have some rumors and details in front of you. These were just possible situations and teams that could be connected to the Penguins. It has been reported so that is curious as Kessel is coming off his best season yet. His trade value is at a all time high but if he’s traded then the teams win now mentality just went down a bit.
Rutherford is a good trader and knows what his team needs. This man clearly knows what hes doing and knows what his team needs to win. After the dust, settles these Penguins will again be a threat to every team in the NHL as a cup contender.