TAMPA, FL — The Pittsburgh Penguins lastly obtained busy on the NHL commerce market. They have been certainly one of two groups remaining to not make an in-season commerce, and GM Ron Hextall made a pair of offers Wednesday night, but it surely’s laborious to say, if not inconceivable, that the Penguins are higher off.
Brock McGinn was despatched to the WBS Penguins.
Teddy Bleuger was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Combined with shedding Kasperi Kapanen through a waiver declare by the St. Louis Blues, the Penguins had $6.3 million to spend.
As Penguins followers started to check distinction makers with hefty paychecks, and the cash burned a gap of their wallets, GM Ron Hextall went a distinct path.
And it’s tough, very tough, to say the Penguins are higher for it. Not in the present day and never tomorrow.
Hextall went discount procuring and despatched a second-round choose to Nashville for small playmaking ahead Mikael Granlund, who’s 31 and signed for 2 extra years with a $5 million AAV.
The Penguins obtained older and smaller, misplaced pace, and have solely $1.1 million of wage cap house left.
The maligned Penguins’ backside six had just lately proven indicators of life, particularly the fourth line with Blueger within the center, Drew O’Connor, and Josh Archibald on the wings.
They pinned Nashville deep in their very own zone and created sustained offensive stress. They did the identical to the Tampa Bay Lightning and performed effectively in opposition to the St. Louis Blues, getting “fourth line” targets in each.
The Penguins third line remained a crater, however few blamed Brock McGinn, at the same time as consternation grew about his bottomless pit of a scoring drought that reached 26 video games earlier than an help Tuesday evening.
Blueger and McGinn are out. Their pace, penalty killing, and grit are eliminated. In equity, the Penguins’ PK has fallen to the mid-pack after reaching the highest of the league in January. However, eradicating a pair of major penalty killers and changing them with Mikael Granlund may trigger head coach Mike Sullivan and assistant coach Mike Vellucci a number of chilly sweats.
This season, Granlund has spent solely 51 minutes on the Nashville PK. Throughout his profession with Nashville and Minnesota, he has sometimes been a major penalty killer however has additionally seen his function lowered or eradicated.
Nor does the Penguins’ backside six look demonstrably higher after Wednesday, which is a surprising feat as a result of the Penguins’ third line was maybe the worst within the NHL.
For superior stat devotees, Granlund has been underwater on puck possession in 4 of the final 5 seasons. He bubbles round 50% scoring likelihood charges however is at 45% this season regardless of taking part in on Nashville’s prime line as a left wing.
So, the online change to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ third line is including Danton Heinen and Mikael Granlund.
Frying pan. Fryer.
And so as to add insult to Penguins followers’ damage, the Penguins’ wage cap construction will stay tight. Jeff Carter, who has struggled mightily, will stay by subsequent season, and Granlund for 2 extra years.
So, this can even be the Penguins’ third line for an additional season.
It can even negatively impression their skill to re-sign Jason Zucker. And Brian Dumoulin. And Tristan Jarry.
It’s laborious to search out extra positives than negatives.
In equity, Granlund is a playmaker. He can submit large help numbers and assist linemates fill the online. He doesn’t rating many targets. He had 11 final season and has simply 9 tallie and 36 factors in 58 video games.
The Penguins should hope that Granlund’s setup skill helps Carter fill the online as soon as once more. That’s the play.
It may work. It may work. But it’s not more likely to work, and it’s wish to have unfavourable ramifications that stretch effectively past chemistry on the third line.
It is tough to say the Penguins are higher off.
Join the Penguins Live chat, held Wednesday evening. It was full of life: