Things are changing in Pittsburgh and we could see some surprising moves coming out of the steel city.
A week ago Ron Hextall was named the new GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Brian Burke was brought in as the president of hockey operations.
So what does this mean for the organization as a whole? Well, while they are still a talented team this Penguins team isn’t a Stanley Cup contender. Currently they are only two points out of a playoff spot in the East division. But if you watch this team you can just see the glaring issues they have. Am I a little biased as a Flyers fan? Yes, absolutely but I’m also a logical hockey fan who probably watches more Penguins games then some of their so called fans.
There’s nothing this team has done in the first 14 games of this season to make me think they have a chance to make the playoffs. The four best teams in the East are the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, and the Washington Capitals. It’s been pretty clear so far this year that those are the four best teams. Not to say the Penguins aren’t going to be in the race until the end of the year but I just don’t see how they make it in over the four teams I mentioned. Now this brings me to the whole point of this article…
What don’t the Penguins have? Draft picks. This team under previous management has spent a lot of draft capital in order to try and win Stanley Cups. Yes, they got two and it worked for them but they haven’t done anything to restock the picks. For the 2021 draft they only have one pick within the first four rounds and it’s their 2nd round pick. Other than that they have their 5th round pick and four 7th round picks. That’s not much for a team that is probably not making the playoffs.
Ron Hextall did a fantastic job of building up the Flyers farm system and acquiring a lot of draft picks to make that possible. The Penguins do have all of their draft picks for 2022 and 2023 but they don’t have any big name prospects really coming up. I have a feeling that Ron Hextall isn’t too happy about that and that’s where Evgeni Malkin comes into play.
Plain and simple I wouldn’t be shocked to see Hexy try and move the veteran star for some draft capital. Malkin is a star and we all know what he is capable of doing. That being said his goal scoring numbers have gone down over the last couple of seasons and he’s never been the strongest defensively. We’ve heard Malkin’s name pop up in trade rumors before but with a new GM with no real connection to him this could be the year we see him get moved.
Where could he go I have no idea. But a contending team like I dk let’s say the Colorado Avalanche or Vegas Golden Knights I wouldn’t be shocked if one of those teams calls up the Penguins to see what it would take to get Malkin out of Pittsburgh.
I think the odds are pretty low on this happening but in today’s NHL you can never say never. Although I will say there’s ZERO chance that Crosby ends his career anywhere else but Pittsburgh.