PROTECTED LIST MUSINGS


The Penguins’ protected list for Wednesday’s expansion draft includes one surprise: Center Jeff Carter was included. Winger Brandon Tanev was not. 

Seattle would be very unlikely to take a 36-year-old center going into the last year of his contract. So, this looks like a move to expose Tanev’s contract, which carries a $3.5-million cap hit through 2025. 

Tanev is gritty but flawed: His breakneck style is compromised by his size (6 foot, 180 pounds). He’s hurt a lot. He missed 24 of 56 games last year. 

Tanev was signed by the previous GM, Jim Rutherford. Current GM Ron Hextall apparently doesn’t see as much value for money. 

Seattle probably won’t bite. Winger Zach-Aston Reese is a more likely selection. He’s an analytics darling and, as a restricted free agent, won’t be expensive. 

Given who’s available for Seattle GM Ron Francis to select, the Kraken has to be an early favorite to win the Stanley Cup. 

Francis could get Nick Bonino, Ian Cole, Carl Hagelin, Matt Murray, Justin Schultz and Conor Sheary: All the guys the Penguins “SHOULD HAVE KEPT! THEY’D STILL BE WINNING!” (Except Murray, that is. Everybody knows the Penguins should have kept Marc-Andre Fleury.) 

I suggested on Friday’s show that the Penguins should ask Evgeni Malkin to waive his no-movement clause so the Penguins could expose Malkin and protect, say, Tanev. 

Seattle isn’t going to take a 34-year-old center that carries a $9.5 million price tag, is in the last year of his contract, and will miss at least half the season after knee surgery. 

Geno Nation rose up as one and said, “YOU CAN’T DO THAT TO GENO! GENO, GENO, GENO, GENO!” Malkin can never know an awkward moment. 

The Penguins didn’t do that. But Montreal did, with goalie Carey Price. Price, like Malkin, is a nailed-on Hall-of-Famer. Price just backstopped a weak Montreal team to the Stanley Cup Final. 

Speaking of goaltenders, the buzz is that the Penguins will make a move for a goalie in free agency, cap space permitting. Right now, it doesn’t. 

If you want to fantasize about something good happening for the Penguins Wednesday, perhaps Seattle will see winger Jason Zucker as captain material and grab his $5.5 million cap hit. The Kraken have to spend at least $60.2 million on payroll. That’s the salary floor. 

It's a longshot, but Seattle might pluck Marcus Petterson. His contract isn't great, carrying a $4.025-million cap hit through 2025. But Wednesday's selection pool isn't exactly brimming with good defensemen.

The Penguins traded Jared McCann to Toronto. For more thoughts on that trade and more musings about the Penguins’ protected list, click HERE.

Photo: Getty Images


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