The Penguins are reportedly seeking some defensive reinforcement prior to the March 1st trade deadline. However, as Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes, the team recently lost defensemen Justin Schultz and Olli Maatta, perhaps adding some urgency to their pursuit. General manager Jim Rutherford told Molinari that the recent injuries wouldn’t urge him to quickly make a deal.
“I don’t think it changes a whole lot,” he said. “Everybody is going to move their players at their own time. I don’t think, necessarily, that they’re going to move up the date on when they decide to move any of their players.
“We were considering a defenseman going into the trade deadline, and we’ll [still] consider doing that. Whether we’re able to pick up one or two, we’ll have to see what the market is.”
Let’s take a look at some other notes out of Pittsburgh…
- Of course, with the Penguins competing for playoff seeding, the team will still be seeking a trade. “We have a lot of games between now and [the playoffs], so we have to address that,” Rutherford said. “We have depth guys in our organization who we believe in, so we’ll just move when we feel the right trade comes along.”
- There’s still plenty of time prior to the offseason, but Rutherford is already thinking about the upcoming expansion draft. “That’s a tough call,” he told Molinari. “We have a bunch of good players at forward, and a bunch on defense. That’s something we won’t decide until after the year.” As the writer notes, teams are required to protect players with no-movement clauses, so Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury wouldn’t be going to Vegas.
- Speaking of Fleury, there’s no guarantee that the goalie will be on the squad following the trade deadline. During Thursday’s victory, the veteran had the Pittsburgh fans chanting his name at what could have been his final home game as a Penguin. “The support I get here is always amazing,” Fleury told NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti. “You don’t know what’s coming [at the trade deadline], and that was nice, a nice feeling.”