Latest Pittsburgh Trade Rumors for Kris Letang and Derick Brassard
When he was acquired, Derick Brassard was considered the key piece that would put the Pittsburgh Penguins over the top at last season’s trade deadline. Unfortunately, their third straight championship wasn’t meant to be, and Brassard certainly didn’t do much to try and turn the tides while the Penguins were eliminated. Brassard may not be a perfect fit with the Penguins, and with Riley Sheahan proving to be a solid third-line pivot, Brassard might even be expendable. Even as a bad fit in Pittsburgh, Brassard is still a solid top-six center, and the Pens could consider moving him if he’s not providing the value they’d like.
With his salary retained, Brassard’s cap hit would only be $3 million for whatever team employs him. Centers are still considered premium pieces in the NHL, and should the Penguins look to move the pending UFA, he’ll attract decent interest. Ultimately, it will come down to whether Pittsburgh feels confident that they’re improving in a trade. If Brassard starts the year playing to his potential, the Penguins may take a page from the Leafs book and hang on to the UFA to better prepare for a deep run. If the somewhat sour fit continues, though, a trade may not be the most outrageous idea.
The Penguins are a team that have been intelligently put together. No contracts stick out like sore thumbs, but one that may soon turn stale is offensive defenseman Kris Letang’s. Letang has battled through injury for the past few seasons, missing the entirety of the 2016-17 playoffs and coming back sans some defensive aptitude. His +/- of -9 last season was the first time Letang has finished in the negatives since 2013-14. Not helping his internal standing is the Penguins blossoming d-corps, including offensive stalwart Justin Schultz and rising rearguard Brian Dumoulin.
Letang is due $7.25 million for another four years, but he won’t be worth the price for that long. If his decline continues, and his defensive lapses lead to the same mistakes that cost them key goals in the playoffs, the Penguins may find themselves with an overpriced liability. Letang hasn’t reached albatross status yet, but if he can’t return to form, he’ll drop to the bottom like a stone in the river.
Carolina Hurricanes looking to still make some trades
The Hockey News: Matt Larkin believes the Carolina Hurricanes still have two big trade chips in defenseman Justin Faulk and left wing Jeff Skinner. Their recent additions of Dougie Hamilton and Calvin de Haan, along with promising Haydn Fleury, Jake Bean and Adam Fox in their system, give the Hurricanes an overflow of talent on the blueline. Larkin believes Faulk is most likely to be dealt, suggesting the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks could have interest in the mobile right-shooting rearguard. The Blackhawks could also use a scoring winger such as Skinner, as could the Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins.