For years the Penguins have horded their assets to rebuild a team that can no longer afford veterans. But now the time has come where I believe they can start dealing some of their assets, as in picks and prospects, in order to obtain established players.
The Pens still have some glaring weaknesses, namely a reliable defenseman and a scoring winger, despite these being addressed in the off season. Petr Sykora has done a decent job though better suited to Malkin’s style of play, though Therrien continues to play him with guys he doesn’t mesh well with. We need someone who is quick to keep pace with Crosby, and I’m not talking fast but with hands of stone a la Konstantin Koltsov.
The Pens are a young team, with a core that is mostly below the age of 25. That’s a good start, and it also means that picks and prospects are more expendable at this point in time. So I say lets start dealing some of these picks, even first or second rounders to get some established veterans who are in their prime and not in a coming contract year. I think paying a 1st rounder for a deadline rental is too steep. But if you can get someone who will fill a major team need without thoroughly gutting the draft or prospect pool, than I say go for it.
Now, I’m not saying to do this for every hole in the Penguins lineup. I don’t condone going Pat Quinn ape-shit and dealing every prospect/pick you have for veterans. But I think the team can afford to let some of them go if it means a long term fix and makes sense for the team.
The Pens especially need a defenseman now that Mark Eaton is gone for the year. He was the only one that was consistently reliable in his own end among the defenders. Rob Scuderi, despite having a strong start to the season, is devolving back into his old self. I’m not sure what Therrien’s fascination with him is, but he is definitely playing favorites as he was constantly playing him over Brooks Orpik, who has not been bad and remains the only physical presence on the blue line.
Our prospect pool is depleted when it comes to immediate help, with only Ryan Stone and Jonathan Filewich anything close to call ups. But that doesn’t mean the prospects who are still a few years from the minors isn’t deep. Maybe its time to look at dealing some them for help now and some years down the line.