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SportWith surplus of defenseman, Penguins might be sellers at trade deadline

04:20  13 january  2019
04:20  13 january  2019 Source:   prohockeyrumors.com

Penguins 'ready to start dealing'

Penguins 'ready to start dealing' Derick Brassard will be traded. That’s the news coming out of nearly every outlet in Pittsburgh as the Penguins prepare to shake up their roster for another Stanley Cup run. The latest to report on the Penguins is Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman in his latest "31 Thoughts" column, which includes a note saying that GM Jim Rutherford is “ready to start dealing.” That notion comes just a day after the Penguins lost badly at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, their second consecutive defeat and one that has dropped them to fourth place in the Metropolitan Division.

LeBrun: Trade deadline buyers and sellers in the Pacific. The Pacific Division race is finally rounding into shape, and the three teams from GM Jarmo Kekalainen will be looking to offload assets, and we've already mentioned that veteran defenseman Tyutin might be a nice fit with the Caps, but you

Not exactly surprising but the Pittsburgh Penguins will be seeking to add 1 or 2 defensemen before the March 1st trading deadline . "We were going to go into this market this month with the understanding that if the right defenseman was there, for what we felt was the right price, then we would move on it

With surplus of defenseman, Penguins might be sellers at trade deadline© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been impressive over the past few weeks with a record of 12-2, and the team may get even better as The Athletic’s Josh Yohe (subscription required) reports that defenseman Justin Schultz, who has missed all but four games this season with a broken leg, has been skating regularly with the team.

While it’s too early for a specific timetable, Schultz could conceivably be back in early to mid-February. However, Schultz’s return will only create more of a defensive logjam for Pittsburgh, which may be forced to make a move soon.

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The trade deadline is quickly approaching and some teams have already started to make their moves. Here's who still has needs—and who could help fill The Caps might be a bit averse to big deadline deals after the Shattenkirk trade didn't work out, but they could benefit from a defenseman to take

Could the Penguins be in on impending free agent defenseman Dan Hamhuis? The Vancouver Province thinks Pittsburgh is the leading contender. After December's trade that sent Rob Scuderi to Chicago for Trevor Daley, the Penguins don't really need Hamhuis as much as they once might have.

Yohe writes that once Schultz returns, the Pens are likely to match Brian Dumoulin and Kris Letang, Schultz with Olli Maatta and Jack Johnson with Marcus Pettersson. This could leave several players out of the lineup, including 6-foot-6, 256-pound Jamie Oleksiak, promising Juuso Riikola and depth defenseman Chad Ruhwedel — far too many players to keep on their roster which, barring injury, will likely prompt a trade.

Surprisingly, the team is solid in that top six as Yohe adds the Pens are devoted to playing Pettersson, who has been incredibly reliable since they acquired the blueliner from Anaheim back on Dec. 3 for Daniel Sprong. In fact, Pittsburgh is 14-3-1 when he’s playing, and while Pettersson can’t take all the credit, he is a significant defensive presence, many believing he will make up the left side of the defense with Dumoulin and Maatta for the next few years.

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With the April 3 trade deadline looming, are the Pittsburgh Penguins buyers, sellers or standing pat? And what do they need?

Why he might be traded : He’s a fast bottom-six forward who can play center or wing and is having a nice season offensively. He’s terrific on faceoffs (57.8 winning percentage Why he might be traded : The Wings are trying to find a home for the little-used defenseman as he no longer fits into their plans.

Pettersson is only averaging 14:54 of ATOI this season, yet he has seen a recent spike since arriving in Pittsburgh, averaging 16:09 and continuing to increase. He played 18:05 on Friday against his former team, the Ducks. His offense is also starting to come around as he has a five-game point streak with six assists in the last five games.

That might suggest the team’s best trade asset would likely be the 26-year-old Oleksiak, despite being the second-biggest player in the NHL, next to Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien. Oleksiak has developed into a solid player in Pittsburgh after several years of struggling to break into the Dallas Stars’ lineup. He just recently returned from injury after suffering a concussion in a fight with Washington’s Tom Wilson and may be best known for a collision with Byfuglien earlier this season.

Byfuglien came away with the worst of it as he suffered a concussion. Regardless, a player with Oleksiak’s size could stir quite a bit of interest if Pittsburgh is ready to move on from him. Although he is returning from injury, he has seen a decrease in playing time since his return.

If the team does opt to move Oleksiak, that could leave Riikola as the team’s seventh defenseman and Ruhwedel as the team’s eighth defenseman if the team chooses to hold onto eight, although that could be at the cost of another forward.

Bruins' Brad Marchand set to return for Winter Classic.
The Boston Bruins should get a boost just in time for the Winter Classic on Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks. NHL.com’s Dan Rosen reports that Brad Marchand should be ready to go after practicing today, barring any setbacks. He missed Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury, but it looks like it wasn’t a serious issue. Marchand is having another solid campaign with 12 goals and 41 points in 39 games this season. Rosen also reports that defenseman Charlie McAvoy remains questionable for the big game. McAvoy has missed two games with a lower-body injury and did not practice today.

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