Penguins Have Trade Options to Become Tougher to Play Against

The Pittsburgh Penguins have some newfound cap space after losing not only Brandon Tanev to the Seattle Kraken but also Jared McCann via trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs. While it’s certainly created a hole on the left side of their roster, general manager Ron Hextall now has more flexibility to make some deals.

3 Trade Targets the Penguins Should Consider Adding

Milan Lucic

Yes, the physical force is not what he used to be from his days in Boston. However, he’s still a beast on the ice and someone who intimidates other teams. Hextall and Brian Burke love Milan Lucic, and at the right price, should be considered as a target for trade.

Jacob Markstrom, Alexander Edler, Milan Lucic
Lucic can be a net-front presence the Penguins desperately need (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)

Last season with the Calgary Flames, the veteran winger put up 23 points in 56 games, including 10 goals. He proved he still has some gas left in the tank, and you won’t find a more team guy than Lucic. He waived his no-movement clause to open himself up to the Kraken, and he’s certainly available out of Calgary. If some salary is retained, adding Lucic for Marcus Pettersson could be something both teams consider.

A lot of people have written off Lucic, and you have to give him some credit for how he got himself back into great game shape and found his offensive touch as recently as last season. He’s the type of player that can play a role on a third-line, with say Jeff Carter, but someone who can also fill in on the top-six. Having his net-front presence on the second power-play would also be very intriguing to watch.

Lawson Crouse

The Arizona Coyotes are open to trading absolutely everyone and have shown they’re also willing to take on salary. Lawson Crouse is a bruising winger who is still only 24 years old and coming into his own in the league. He sticks up for his teammates, hits everything that moves, finishing with 155 hits last season, good for 12th among all NHL skaters. At $1.53 million, the former 11th overall draft pick from 2015 could be the perfect fit for the Penguins’ third-line.

Lawson Crouse Arizona Coyotes
Lawson Crouse would look great with Jeff Carter for the Penguins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Crouse is a big body at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, and if Hextall and Burke are looking to get tougher to play against, he’s the perfect target. Young, affordable contract and willing to play in the dirty areas, basically a dream for Penguins management. He’s also shown he’s capable of scoring, notching 15 goals in 2019-20. Considering the unknown future of Jason Zucker and the tough loss of the Tanev and his physical play, a forward who plays a style like Crouse should be considered. If the price tag isn’t out of this world, the Penguins should do what they can to acquire the Coyotes forward.

Christian Fischer

Another Coyote forward who loves to bang bodies, Christian Fischer, finished last season with 148 hits in 52 games. He’s a former second-round pick who showed up in the desert and was scoring at will. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to match his 15 goals from his rookie season in 2016-17 and last season only recorded three goals. Fischer was the expected target of the Kraken’s expansion draft out of Arizona, but when they went in another direction, his name immediately went onto many team’s trade list.

Christian Fischer Arizona Coyotes
Christian Fischer is a great option for the Penguins add (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Fischer is signed for next season, making only $1 million on the cap. Certainly, a contract Hextall can fit on the roster, and it, like all trades, will come down to the price tag involved. The Penguins are open to a number of different deals, but they aren’t going to make hockey deals unless they feel it benefits the club this season and beyond. At only 24-years-old, this is the type of player who could easily grow into a valuable role player for Pittsburgh.

Penguins management has made it loud and clear they are looking for some sandpaper this summer, and all three of these options would bring that element to the team. Their price tags will vary in cost, and Hextall and Burke will need to get creative. Regardless, make no mistake: the Penguins will be active on the trade market.

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