The Pittsburgh Penguins are faring quite well so far in a competitive East Division with Pittsburgh currently two points back of first place. The Penguins are enjoying a solid season and new President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke and general manager Ron Hextall are expected to bolster their roster as the trade deadline nears.
Interesting enough, NBC Sports Adam Gretz reports that the two new executives are both well known for their appreciation of size on their teams and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Penguins were seeking help in that direction as the trade deadline approaches. While the team doesn’t have the firepower to trade for any big names on the market, the scribe believes that a realistic target may be Detroit’s Anthony Mantha.
The 26-year-old Mantha could be a good find as the winger has struggled in the last couple of seasons with injuries being the main culprit. This year, Mantha has just nine goals and 16 points in 34 games and might prove to be a good trade chip if general manager Steve Yzerman chooses. However, for the Penguins to add Mantha, they would have to unload a significant amount with few assets but a handful of prospects and almost no picks as the Penguins have already traded away their first, third, fourth and sixth-round picks for 2021.
- Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan reports that winger Jason Zucker practiced fully Sunday and is close to returning to the Pittsburgh lineup at some point this week, according to Wes Crosby of NHL.com. Zucker skated in a non-contact sweater Saturday, so Sunday was a step up. The 29-year-old has four goals and seven points in 17 games, but will have to be activated from long-term injured reserve before he can play.
- Crosby also notes that forwards Teddy Blueger and Brandon Tanev were on the ice Sunday with skills and development coach Ty Hennes. Tanev reportedly cleared the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol on Sunday, but didn’t practice with the team as he is still rehabbing from an upper-body injury. He remains day-to-day, but is also close. Blueger was placed on injured reserve on March 18 with an upper-body injury and was listed as week-to-week.
- The Athletic’s Josh Yohe (subscription required) suggests Sidney Crosby, while a longshot, as a potential candidate for the Hart Trophy. The scribe writes that despite a number of significant candidates for the award like Patrick Kane, Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon and Auston Matthews, Crosby could be an outside candidate. The 33-year-old center has 14 goals and 39 points in 34 games and has been a key leader for an impressive Penguins team that has been without Evgeni Malkin for much of the season.