Yo, Penguins fans: They can’t trade for Francis and Ulf again.
As the NHL’s March 1 trade deadline begins to sneak up, local hockey yokels want the Pens to make a big deal, because that’s how you win a Stanley Cup. Except for 2013, when all those trades ***ked everything up.
Mostly, they want Marc-Andre Fleury traded. Less than a year after having an extra legit goalie on tap won a Stanley Cup, the citizens are clamoring to haphazardly discard that formula. Stupid idea.
A primary target for the hoi polloi is St. Louis defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who would be a rental. He’s in the last year of his contract.
Shattenkirk is good offensively: 35 points in 51 games. But Kris Letang and Justin Schultz are both averaging more points per game. Do the Penguins really need another guy like that? No, thanks.
How would the Penguins deploy Shattenkirk? He’s a right-handed defenseman and plays the right side. Letang and Schultz fit that description, and Trevor Daley is a left shot but much better on the right side. Acquiring Shattenkirk means switching Daley to his weaker side. No, thanks,
NHL.com compared Shattenkirk to Keith Yandle. No, thanks.
Eighteen of Shattenkirk’s 35 points (including seven of his 11 goals) have come on the power play, where the Penguins don’t need him. No, thanks.
It’s not fantasy league. It’s not about collecting stars. Build a team.
Statistically, winger Carl Hagelin isn’t great: Six goals and 13 assists in 49 games. But his speed and forecheck are a perfect fit for the high-octane Penguins. He’d be useless in a lot of places. Not Pittsburgh. He was a good get.
Shattenkirk would be useful in a lot of places. Not Pittsburgh. He’d be a bad get.
The Penguins could use a better seventh defenseman. A slight upgrade at wing wouldn’t hurt. You can use lost-cause defenseman Derrick Pouliot and/or a draft choice to get one or both of those. Holding onto Fleury until the offseason is best for the Pens’ championship chances.