General manager Ron Hextall and President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke are two NHL executives who are never shy to make a big trade. Trade chatter around the league and specifically surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins this offseason will be frequent with the Seattle Kraken expansion draft looming and a flat salary cap on the horizon. There will be some catchy names available and some that may look sexy on paper; regardless, Hextall and Burke need to find a way to say no.
3 Trade Options the Pittsburgh Penguins Should Avoid
Zack Kassian, Edmonton Oilers
The 30-year-old winger is one of the toughest customers in the NHL and has been protecting Oilers’ superstars for years, but that doesn’t mean he’d fit in nicely with the Penguins. Kassian is overpaid at $3.2 million and with the Penguins having cap flexibility issues, adding a mid-level contract like this would set the team back on their books. It’s also worth pointing out while he’s able to play spot-duty among the top three lines, Kassian is best suited for a fourth-line checking role but unfortunately for him, his contract asks for more than that.
Kassian only managed to contribute five points in 27 games last season, and while his play on fear can be expected, his team needed more out of him than scare tactics. One of the biggest reasons the Oilers struggled when it mattered most was because of secondary production and having some of their players not live up to expectations. Kassian was a part of said group.
Nazem Kadri, Colorado Avalanche
Burke and Kadri have a long history from their days together with the Toronto Maple Leafs. As general manager of the Leafs, Burke selected Kadri with the seventh overall pick at the 2009 NHL Draft, so you wouldn’t have to sell him on what type of player “Naz” could be. This season in Colorado, 30-year-old enjoyed a fine campaign, recording 32 points in 56 games. Kadri is a natural center with a little bit of experience playing the wing but is certainly best suited as a team’s #2 or #3 center option.
The biggest knack on Kadri is that he’s a dirty player with no control of his emotions and when your resume includes three postseason suspensions, it’s hard to argue. The pesky center isn’t capable of keeping his cool, and his cowboy mentality is something the Penguins don’t need in their dressing room. The team is lucky to have one of the closest groups in the league, and bringing in someone like Kadri, who can stir the pot on and off the ice, is something Hextall and Burke need to turn a blind eye to. With one season left with a reasonable contract of $4.5 million, the Avs are going to be receiving a ton of trade calls on the London, ON native. Penguins fans just better hope it’s not from the team’s front office.
Nicolas Deslauriers, Anaheim Ducks:
The 30-year-old rugged winger was reportedly close to becoming a Penguin at the trade deadline, but apparently, the deal fell through at the last second as the two sides couldn’t agree to draft pick conditions. Deslauriers is a big body at 6’3 and he’s never shy to stick up for his teammates and drop the gloves when needed.
Again, there’s history here with the player. He and Hextall go back to their days with the Los Angeles Kings and Manchester Monarchs, as Deslauriers was selected in the third round back at the 2009 NHL Draft. While there’s familiarity with the player, and a need on the Penguins for more toughness, adding the enforcer to the team should be avoided. The Lasalle, Quebec native does not skate well, he’s not dependable in his own end, and he’s basically just out there in case someone needs security.
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The Penguins will be able to find players who can add toughness and still be contributing to the cause. Just because you can fight doesn’t mean you’re tough to play against. Hextall and Burke should be reluctant to add Deslauriers and keep looking for players who go in hard on the forecheck, win the wall battles, and keep up to the new age pace of the NHL.
The Penguins will tinker with their roster this offseason as the new management regime has shown they are committed to winning and willing to make deals to improve the hockey club. While the team needs to be tougher to play against and could use some size, these elements need to be added very carefully. Bringing any of these three players on board is not the answer and Hextall and Burke should keep shopping for better deals.
Shane covers any and everything to do with the Toronto Maple Leafs & Pittsburgh Penguins. A constant contributor to the THW family, his passion and unique perspective on the game results in some diverse content. Certainly versatile, you can find Seney also contributing at NHLTradeRumors.me, BaseballRumors.me & BBallRumors.com. Follow along on Twitter @ShugMcSween