Latest on the Sharks and Penguins – December 19, 2017
With the holiday trade freeze beginning at midnight tonight, here’s a look at the latest speculation on the Sharks and Penguins in your NHL rumor mill.
HOW WILL THE SHARKS REPLACE COUTURE?
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Marcus White recently examined potential options for the San Jose Sharks to replace leading scorer Logan Couture (concussion) if he’s sidelined for a lengthy period. One of them is trading for a center, though White considers this the least likely move because of the potentially expensive asking prices. He also suggests trading for a winger, allowing them to move Tomas Hertl to center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with White that a trade seems unlikely. He feels the most likely option is giving second-year center Danny O’Regan more playing time. I expect general manager Doug Wilson will remain patient and hope Couture can soon return to action. If he’s out longer than expected and the Sharks start sliding down the standings in his absence, Wilson could be prompted to go shopping early in the New Year.
SHAKEUP COMING FOR STRUGGLING PENGUINS?
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey wonders if changes could be coming for the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’ve dropped five of their last seven games, including a 4-2 loss last night to the Colorado Avalanche. He suggests it could prompt the roster shakeup GM Jim Rutherford alluded to last week before the club embarked on its recent road trip. Their offense has sputtered of late, with just 10 goals in those five losses. Mackey suggests they could make a trade or call up promising forward Daniel Sprong.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Pens have been lacking a skilled two-way third-line center since Nick Bonino departed for Nashville via free agency last summer. Late last month it was reported defenseman Ian Cole was being shopped, with the Vegas Golden Knights, Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche thought to be interested. However, a deal involving Cole has yet to materialize. Rutherford could swing a trade before the holiday trade freeze goes into effect at midnight but I expect he’ll instead call up Sprong.
Rutherford was busy in the hours leading up to the holiday freeze. As per NBC Sports, he acquired defenseman Jamie Oleksiak from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2019. He also acquired goaltender Michael Leighton and a fourth-round pick in 2019 from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for forward Josh Archibald, minor-league goalie Sean McGuire and a 2019 sixth-round selection.
The move gives the Penguins a little more depth in goal and on the blueline. However, it still doesn’t address their most pressing need: a skilled two-way third-line center. For that, Rutherford might have to wait until sometime in the New Year for find a suitable option.