by Tony on 02/24/10 at 09:04 PM ET
Like everyone else, I’ve been consumed with the Olympic hockey. The Canada/Russia game tonight should be, shall I say, intense. And I hope the USA doesn’t take their collective feet off the throttle in today’s rematch vs. Switzerland.
But while the tournament has so far lived up to it’s billing, it has overshadowed the trade deadline, which is one week from today.
In what may very well be known to the Penguins as the “rental player deadline”, speculation is that GMRS will attempt to trade for a winger and a defensive defenseman. How he will go about that, as well as what he’ll have to give up in order to get those assets, is anybody’s guess.
So just for the hell of it, let’s take a quick glance at the forwards whom Pens fans have clamored about recently:
1. Colby Armstrong (09-10 salary - 2.4M, UFA) - Ya know, Colby seems to be a nice guy. Great sense of humor, one of those “clubhouse guys”. Well-known good buddy of that Crosby guy. But for all those nice-to-have attributes, I just don’t get the on-ice fascination with Armstrong. Some Pens fans were screaming from the rooftops when he, along with Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a #1 draft pick went to Atlanta for Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis. I never really understood why then, and I still don’t. We Pens fans overuse the hell out of the term “scoring winger”, mainly as it applies to Crosby’s line. But folks, in my view, Armstrong is simply not that guy, he wasn’t in the past, isn’t now, and won’t be.
2. Maxim Afinogenov (09-10 salary - 800K, UFA) - Rico Fata clone with better hands. I would kinda doubt GMRS would give up too many assets to acquire him, but he does have that blazing speed that both he and HCDB love in their system. Strictly grasping at straws, maybe the Russian connection would mesh between he and Malkin? Maybe his relatively-cheap salary would be a better fit for the cap-strapped Penguins.
3. Ray Whitney (09-10 salary - 3.5M, UFA) - The closer the deadline gets, the less and less I think GMRS will give up the assets that are being floated out there, most importantly a first-round draft pick. Whitney is a good NHL winger, good hands, good around the net. But Whitney is no Marian Hossa. I seriously doubt GMRS wants to give up a first round draft pick for the 2nd time in three seasons for someone that most likely won’t be back next season.
4. Alexei Ponikarovsky (09-10 salary - 2.1M, UFA) - Poni is another one that NHL GM’s may have to overpay to acquire. Especially after Montreal gave up a 2nd round pick for Dominic Moore. Moore’s a good 3rd liner, but Poni is a decent top six forward. And again, not to repeat myself, but I just don’t see GMRS giving up anything higher than a 2nd round pick, if that. He does have a decent set of hands, something that the Penguins’ forwards need.
5. Raffi Torres (09-10 salary - 2.25M, UFA) - Rugged top six forward. He’s put up decent numbers in year’s past (27 goals in ‘05-‘06), and has 19 goals in 59 games so far this season. Possibly an eventual replacement for Ruslan Fedotenko? Who knows, he doesn’t have a large contract, if he were to be acquired.
6. Ethan Moreau (09-10 salary - 2M, on contract until 10-11) - Not having the greatest year, with only 6 goals in 60 games. Does have good net presence though, another attribute that the Pens currently lack.
Prediction: Going on pure gut, with no “insider info” once so ever, I have a sneaking suspicion that GMRS is gonna get either Torres or Moreau. Don’t ask me why. Who knows, maybe both if he unloads some players via either waivers or trade.
I’ll check out any possible defensemen in the coming days.
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Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.
Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
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