Piecing together an acceptable trade for Ray Shero and the Pittsburgh Penguins will require another post. What we can do is look at different options that will be available come Feburary 28th.
Some of the biggest names at the deadline won’t be traded. Attractive candidates like Brad Richards, Simon Gagne, and Erik Cole will all likely stay put thanks to unforeseen team success. Even if those players are moved, the asking price won’t be touted prospects with bright futures. Rather, talent who can currently help the team’s playoff run will be required–players which the Penguins are not willing to move.
The Los Angeles King’s Michal Hanzus is one option, but buyers rarely trade with buyers–and expect the Kings to bet the house in a couple of weeks. Other buyers at the deadline will rule out players such as Justin Williams (Kings), Michael Ryder (Bruins), and Teemu Selanne (Ducks),
Some intriguing possibilities include players that have been subject to much Pittsburgh hostility. Put aside your Capitals hate for a second and think how good Brooks Laich or Mike Kunble would look in a skating penguin crest. Okay, you can resume hating again, because a trade between probable first round opponents is highly unlikely. One scenario which could play out is the shipment of Jason Arnott from the Devils to the Penguins.
-Jason Arnott: The 36-year-old center is considered a major aquisition by most. He’s tallied 13 goals and 23 points this season for a league cellar dweller. I don’t see the it working out in Pittsburgh though. One thing Arnott has proved over his career it is that he needs players around him to be successful. With Crosby and Staal occupying the top two center positions, the former 30-goal-scorer won’t have much to work with. Arnott also hasn’t recorded more than five points in the playoffs since 2001. Keep in mind that Mark Letestu will return, and deserves more than fourth line duty.
Sporting perhaps the best defense in the NHL, Ray Shero will be looking to acquire the scoring production he lost with Geno’s injury. These guys can provide it.
-Alex Kovalev: Many people are saying that the Penguins will look to acquire a center at the trading deadline. The loss of Evgeni Malkin hurts the wing situation more than the middle of the Penguins lineup though. Geno was due to play wing alongside Staal upon his return. An ACL injury has derailed those plans though, and the Penguins should seek a replacement forward if a long playoff run is in the cards. That forward should not be Kovalev. The aged Russian is this year’s Alexander Frolov–not including Frolov of course. He is unmotivated, unwilling to listen, and unable to work with teamates. It would be nice to see a genuine sniper skating along side Sidney Crosby, but there is too much baggage here.
-Dustin Penner: A winger for the Edmonton Oilers, Penner’s contract doesn’t expire for two more years. He is an unlikely acquisition because the Penguins might not be able to create enough cap space for his $4.5 million contract next season. There is a lot to like about Penner though. He scored 32 goals and 63 points last season–FOR THE OILERS! Extremely quick and crafty, Penner would be an outstanding linemate for Crosby.
-Ales Hemsky: Another Oiler winger, Hemsky is arguably Edmonton’s best player this year. The Czech Republic native is lightning fast and does a little bit of everything. He is the type of role player Penguin’s fans look at and covet. Hemsky would provide depth, and could more than equal the skills of Jason Chimera or Nikolay Zherdev in a playoff matchup. As with Penner, the trouble with Hemsky is that his contract doesn’t expire until after next year.
-Milan Hejduk: My personal favorite. Hedjuk is a goal scoring machine. He is a former 50-goal scorer who can snipe from any position on the ice. His combination of speed and power would fit in perfectly on the Penguins, and Hejduk would be the best linemate Crosby ever skated with. Second on the Colorado Avalanche in goals and points, the Czech Republic Olympian is the type of player who wins Stanley Cups for you. Unfortunately, he probably won’t be available. The acquisition, and subsequent loss, of Tomas Fleishman earlier this season means the Avalanche are expecting a playoff run. The Denver-based franchise has restructured their organization by injecting youth and potential into the lineup, leaving a slim possibility for a deadline deal. The Avalanche also would not have offered a contract to Peter Forsberg if the organization was looking to trade Hejduk. Ray Shero would have to work some magic to get this deal done–like we haven’t said that before.