Pittsburgh Penguins trade rumors

Mike Cammalleri

Mike Cammalleri

As the 2013-2014 NHL season winds closer and closer to the month-long Olympic break in February, the window for teams to acquire new talent via trades is shrinking.

A week after the Olympics end, the NHL has set their annual trade deadline day for March 5th, leaving teams with little time to try and ink any deals before they start their final run at the playoffs.

Given the time crunch, many are speculating that if teams do decide to shake up their rosters with trade acquisitions, they will most likely be done before the league shuts down for the Olympics in February, leaving general managers with a little more breathing room to swing that final deal.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are no exception.

The Pens have been at the center of various trade rumors since October.  First and foremost, Pittsburgh has its sights set on replacing the injured Pascal Dupuis on the top line with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz.  Finding wingers that play well with Crosby has proven to be a bit of challenge for the Pens in the past, but nevertheless, there are still a handful of names being floated around as possible targets.

Perhaps the most frequently mentioned target is Calgary Flames winger Mike Cammalleri.  The 31-year-old Cammalleri is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, making him a logical target.  In his nine full NHL seasons, Cammalleri has garnered the reputation as a Penguin killer, most famously when he torched the Pens in the 2010 Eastern-Conference Semifinals as a member of the Canadiens.

The biggest advantage Cammalleri brings is his versatility.  He’s a little more skilled than Dupuis, although they both play a similar style that would fit well with Sid.  His grit would also make him an excellent option to stick on the third line with Brandon Sutter, which at this point is probably Pittsburgh’s weakest spot.

Having said that, Cammalleri is currently out with a concussion, so his health is also a factor of concern for any team that may want to trade for him.

Other names have been mentioned as well, most notably Matt Moulson of the Buffalo Sabres, as well as several members of the Winnipeg Jets like Blake Wheeler, Devin Setoguchi, or even Olli Jokinen.  Moulson would be an awesome fit, seeing as how he had years of experience playing with another exceptional talent in John Tavares when he was on the Islanders.  Also, much like Cammalleri, I could see him slotting in on the third line well.

Wheeler is also a member of the U.S. Olympic team, which just so happens to be coached by Penguins bench boss Dan Bylsma.  He’s got some serious speed, something Bylsma and Shero both value highly when evaluating a forward.

Could Simon Despres be on the move?

Could Simon Despres be on the move?

While Pittsburgh will probably be bringing someone in, that also means that someone must be going out.  With the top-six (for the most part) off limits, that leaves basically defenseman, prospects, or draft picks to be the outgoing parts in any deal Pittsburgh makes.

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As evidenced by his acquisitions at last year’s trade deadline, Shero is not afraid to ship draft picks or top prospects for a rental, however they have expressed the opinion that they would much rather find a long term solution at wing, as opposed to another Jarome Iginla.  If they do trade any current Penguins, defenseman Simon Despres, seen by many to be the most expendable in an extremely deep pool of young blue-liners, would also be a likely target.

Wheeler would most likely bring the highest asking price, with a forward (Beau Bennett), as well as a young blue-liner like Despres or even Olli Maatta being shipped to the Jets.

Again, these are just rumors.  Nothing has been done officially, but these are just the guys that make the most sense given their current contracts and the Penguins needs.

Read more Penguins rumors, news and opinion on our Pittsburgh Penguins page

  • Shane Sullivan

    guys you missed some great guys like jagr or oshie or wayne simmons those guys would be perfect for the job

  • atp0809

    Despres is the obvious one to be traded. He is big, young, and skilled. He just hasn’t played well in Pittsburgh. Often, a change of scenery for a guy like that works wonders. He reminds me a lot of Alex Goligowski in that respect. There is absolutely no chance at all that they are trading Maata. Letang, Maata, Scuderi, Pouliot are defensive cornerstones. Bennett and Bortuozzo could be on the block. Both are young and would bring value. Bennett is long on potential, but unable to stay healthy. Bortuozzo has acquitted himself very well. I almost can’t believe I am going to say this because he has played so incredibly well for them this year, but the one guy that could bring them a king’s ransom as a centerpiece of a move would be Matt Niskanen. I’m not saying to trade him, but here’s the facts. After next year, the Pens probably won’t be able to afford him and he’s still young enough where other clubs would covet him. Also remember that until this year, he was a minus player and many times he was criticized for his defensive play. If they traded him, the $2.3M would free up on the cap to allow a contract to come back in return. You would still also have a defensive corps of Letang/Orpik, Scuderi/Martin, Maata/Bortuozzo, Engelland/(prospect/acquisition). My point is Dupuis’ relief and Niskanen’s contract would free up a prorated $6M+. They will need that much money because this team needs both a Top 6 wing as well as a solid 3rd line wing.

    • john

      They have to hold Niskanen. He’s playing the best hockey of his career and with Letang up in the air, he’s the best point defenseman they have for the power play. No way they bring him back next season, but this has been the deepest blue line we’ve ever had in Pittsburgh in the cap era. I doubt they want to mess with it.

  • bern1417

    I can’t see Shero letting the Pens #1 pick go again, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did bc to get something you have to give something.. Even though this draft class has less talent than the 2013 draft did it wouldn’t be wise. I also can’t see the Pens parting with Maatta, Dumoulin, or Pouliot. I can’t see Megna or Bennett leaving also bc the Pens are severely weak in WBS with forward prospects. Speed speed speed that is that all Shero and Bylsma are worried about? Surely those two can’t be so simple minded bc everyone knows that 200′ x 85′ ice surface shrinks badly come the middle of Apr and beyond. While the Pens need a winger for Sid (Dupuis isn’t even the answer healthy) a Wheeler, Kane, Moulson, Cammy, or Setaguchi would be the answer.. A bigger concern moving forward is how small this team is on their 3rd and 4th lines and how they lack a physical presence as last year showed. The small fast guys like Vitalie, Connor, and Gibbons are great for the wide open regular season, but they will be a disaster for playoff hockey. Vitalie might be the exception, but the Connor’s, Ebbett’s and Gibbons’ won’t be seeing regular shifts in the post-season; and if they’re the Pens won’t be around long. Out of their current roster Adams, Glass, Sutter, are the only definites to be playing post-season hockey on the bottom 6. Even the big bodied Pyatt is a what if. Glass could play 3rd line if his form prior to being injured returns.That being said I think if Shero is going to go after Moulson he might as well go after Steve Ott too. Not only can Ott get on everyone’s nerves but he has hands and can score. What a 3rd line Ott-Sutter- and Megna or Bennett would be. If Ott’s a NO there is also Cody McCormick in Col at 6’1″ 210lbs he would be great on the 3rd or 4th line. Also Max Talbot hasn’t meshed with Colorado so maybe getting him and Cody is an option. Max can play with Sid and next year could be a great 3rd line addition or could play 3rd line now while Shero gets a top 6 wing for Crosby. I think it’s a foregone conclusion that Despres is going to be traded, but what is his value really? You don’t think other GM’s aren’t going to understand that Bylsma doesn’t trust him one bit? For the Pens to truly get a top 6 and fill their 3rd and 4th line voids Kris Letang needs to be moved, and he should be. The Pens are deep enough and clearly he doesn’t want to get better defensively, and while he’s great at times he’s also a huge liability. For MAF saneness come post-season play I think Tanger leaving (west coast team) would be more beneficial than him staying.. The window for Lemieux to show everyone he wants to win is slowly closing. Fleury, Crosby, and Malkin aren’t getting younger and to this point 1 Cup and 2 SCF appearances isn’t a great track record. These next two seasons should be make or break for Lemieux unless he’s just worried about making money. He’s given the keys to Shero and hasn’t interfered one bit, but at the same time the return has been modest at best. Last year’s Morrow, Iginla, Murray cost the Pens a #1 and a 2nd rd and if they were going to use Iggy improperly from the start it wasn’t worth it at all. While all the regular season success Bylsma has had is terrific it’s the post-season results that matters and to this point his teams don’t waver from their system ( his in game adjustments are nil) and refuse to play defense. This year that needs to change. While speed is great it better be defense and physical play that is the focus of acquisitions ( outside of a wing for Sid) or else it’s just another year of wasted opportunity with two of the best centers in the game.

  • Smitz

    how about the pens pick up Evander Kane instead of the other aforementioned Jets.

  • steve

    Maatta*

  • Zanthe

    Shero has said he doesn’t want to trade for a soon-to-be UFA. I’m not sure if those comments were before or after Dupuis got hurt, but given that Dupuis is starting to get older and he’s probably not going to get to much better, I could see Shero trying to find a long term player over a short term.

  • Nick Bell

    I would like to have moulson over camalleri since moulson has speed and thats something the penguins lack i think. As far as who to trade i would say shero may not want to give up any more highly regarded prospects unless demanded. It would be nice if we could make moulson more than just a rental player though

    • bern1417

      If you think the Pens lack speed you’re either blind or have NO hockey intellect whatsoever.. LoL, dear god.. Have you not watched Crosby, Kunitz, Malkin, Neal, Vitale, Megna, Gibbons, Sill, Letang, Maatta, or Engelland skate? Those 11 can fly and while a few are injured at this time the Pens are not lacking speed now or when healthy. BTW Cammy has plenty of speed too, his only downside is his salary. Also what are teams going to demand for high priced players besides prospects? Joe Vitale? Craig Adams? Tanner Glass? Surely Buf wants 35yr old Adams straight up for Moulson,haha.. What are you 17? More than likely Moulson wouldn’t be a rental and his $3 million salary is plenty affordable.