Penguins and Red Wings Trade Could Provide Deadline Blockbuster

The NHL’s Trade Deadline is set for March 21 as the Pittsburgh Penguins are still trying to upgrade their forward group. Meanwhile, the Detroit Red Wings have made it known they’re open for business. Two teams heading in opposite directions with the Penguins gearing up for what could be another Stanley Cup playoff run, while the Red Wings are trying to piece together a foundation of talent for the future.

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They have been recently linked in trade talks, so let’s examine a potential blockbuster between the two franchises.

Red Wings Forward Hits the Trade Market

According to David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, the Penguins have interest in Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi. He’s a 27-year-old who plays the game hard and has great offensive upside. Bertuzzi is signed through next season at $4.75 million and does not hold any trade protection. So far in 50 games in 2021-22, he’s recorded 24 goals and 48 points, both career highs as he’s been a bright spot in Motown this season.

Add Pagnotta’s report of Bertuzzi being on the Penguins’ radar to the fact Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff has the Red Wings being open to moving anyone out besides defenseman Moritz Seider and forward Lucas Raymond. It’s obvious general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman has many lines in the water to see how he could maximize the return on a few of his current assets.

While Bertuzzi’s name has been ‘out there’ for months, this is the first time he’s really been linked to the Penguins. Considering his style of play, and his offensive instincts, it’s a match that makes complete sense. Along with Evgeni Malkin and perhaps Jeff Carter on the team’s second-line, the pesky left-winger would bring a new element to the Pens’ top-six.

Penguins Forward Becomes Prime Trade Candidate

The Penguins are happy with their group, however, GM Ron Hextall admitted if there’s a deal to be made he would consider it as his top-six forwards could use a boost. Jason Zucker has been hurt most of the season and has disappointed, meanwhile, Kasperi Kapanen started off on the right-wing of Malkin and that experiment is long gone as Kapanen’s recently been a healthy scratch and is fighting for ice time.

The speedy winger has recorded one goal in his last 26 games, and as a pending restricted free agent, he had better hope he’s more productive late in the season so that he can still secure a multi-year deal in the offseason. He could be a target of the Red Wings because they know his game pretty well from his days with the Toronto Maple Leafs when he was a penalty killing machine. Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, he’s not used while shorthanded. At 25 years old he’s also two years younger than Bertuzzi and could still become more than a third-line checking winger with speed as a new opportunity in Detroit could be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Red Wings Likely Want Certain Defenseman Included in the Deal

While Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson has been a healthy scratch of late and has seen his name slip down head coach Mike Sullivan’s depth chart, it’s John Marino who is drawing the most trade interest in Pittsburgh. As a right-handed defenseman who moves the puck well, is a great skater and is signed under contract through the 2026-27 season at $4.4 million annually, you can’t blame the Red Wings for having interest.

John Marino, Pittsburgh Penguins
John Marino, Pittsburgh Penguins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The only issue with moving Marino is the fact depth on the right-side in Pittsburgh is a huge issue. Legend Kris Letang is a pending unrestricted free agent who is having another stellar season. Hextall doesn’t have a ton of cap space to work with this summer and there’s going to be some heavy interest in him from the Montreal Canadiens where his old agent is now their GM. How can the Penguins move Marino when only Chad Ruhwedel is under contract for the right side of the blue line in 2022-23?

Related: Penguins Trade Likely to Include Either Marino or Pettersson

That’s where Pettersson comes in and perhaps Yzerman does have some interest as the team loves to scout Swedish-born players. While he hasn’t been able to crack the Penguins lineup of late, the 25-year-old is 6-foot-3, showing he can play a more physical game as he’s on pace for a career-high in hits – and he’s signed for three more seasons at just over $4 million. The lanky defenseman isn’t a candidate to run the top power-play unit, however, he’s been given a look on the second unit and has shown well. There’s still some potential there on the offensive side of the puck, and let’s see if the Red Wings feel the same.

Is a trade of Kapanen and Pettersson for Bertuzzi enough for the Red Wings? From all accounts that should be a trade offer capable of getting Hextall’s attention in Pittsburgh, however Yzerman loves to work a hard bargain in Motown so there’s likely still lots to be worked out. The makings of a blockbuster deal loom between these two clubs as the trade deadline is less than a week away.