With a little more then a month until the NHL Trade Deadline the Pittsburgh Penguins will be one of the teams to keep an eye on. While this deadline isn’t expected to be a busy one considering how owners across the league are losing money, the new regime of Ron Hextall and Brian Burke will want to put their fingerprints on this Penguins roster as they likely head for another playoff run.
We already examined some names off the Nashville Predators that could be of interest to the Penguins and today we dive into the Detroit Red Wings as the team is struggling and have some rentals that should be on the Pens’ radar.
Bobby Ryan, RW/LW
Bobby Ryan was drafted by Burke in Anaheim infamously one-spot behind Sidney Crosby and the two have long been tied to one another. The soon to be 34-year-old is having himself a decent bounce-back season in Motown, recording 12 points through 23 games.
Ryan signed with the Red Wings before this season for $1 million and this type of value is the kind of player(s) the Penguins will need to focus on as they don’t have a ton of cap space to work with. It’s also important to note that Ryan’s value on the trade market won’t be extremely costly, so he could be acquired for a mid-level prospect or two.
The New Jersey-native would provide the Penguins with some more depth on right wing. With the likes of Bryan Rust and Kasperi Kapanen going back and forth on the top-two lines, Ryan gives head coach Mike Sullivan another option. It’s also worth noting Ryan has played some at left wing in the past and with Jason Zucker likely out for the season, he has the offensive abilities to produce in the top six for the Penguins.
Sam Gagner, RW/C
The 31-year-old Sam Gagner is another veteran who has the offensive instincts to produce if put into the right situation. While he’s never been the prototypical checking winger, he has taken over 3,000 career NHL face-offs and could provide the Penguins with some more versatility to their bottom-six forwards. So far this season, the Toronto-native has scored four times and is a plus-five rating on a very bad Red Wings team.
Gagner is making a very affordable $850,000 this season and wouldn’t cost a ton via trade. Worth noting is the history here between Gagner and Hextall. Back in 2015, then-general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers, Hextall acquired Gagner in an offseason deal that sent Niklas Grossman and Chris Pronger’s contract to the desert. This familiarity and Gagner’s cheap contract could factor into the Penguins’ decision to acquire his services.
Luke Glendening, C/RW
Another 31-year-old veteran, the long-time Red Wing was recently named on hockey insider Frank Seravalli’s trade bait list and with good reason. Luke Glendening does it all for the Red Wings and is one of the best defensive forwards in the league. This season, he’s leading the league in face-off percentage, winning 67.6 percent of his draws and would give the Penguins another weapon in the face-off circle.
Glendening is a player that would be a “quiet” acquisition but one that could have a huge impact on a playoff series. He plays the type of style that Burke and Hextall love as he isn’t afraid to play in the dirty areas of the ice. You wouldn’t ever see Glendening in a top-six on a playoff-bound team, but he provides stability to the bottom of your lineup every day of the week.
The Penguins have some questions to answer as we approach the trade deadline on April 12. While it appears there isn’t a blockbuster move coming due to their lack of upcoming draft picks and salary cap restraints, Burke and Hextall will be doing their best to upgrade the Penguins roster as they gear up for what fans hope is another long playoff run.
These three rentals should be on management’s radar and if the Penguins could add both Ryan and Glendening, it could provide the team with exactly what they need to get out of the first round this postseason.