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New Penguins GM Has His Work Cut Out For Him


New Penguins Has Difficult Task of Assembling Penguins Roster

Matt Vensel of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Vensel writes as the Pittsburgh Penguins continue their search for their new President of Hockey Operations and general manager, their roster has several question marks surrounding it.

As Vernel points out the new general manager will have to build around Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang. All three will be Penguins for life. Despite Crosby and Malkin having good seasons, the Penguins missed the playoffs for the first time in 17 seasons.

NHL Rumors: The Pittsburgh Penguins front office search continues

The road for the Penguins to return to the playoffs is even more challenging as the division is only improving.

The Penguins are an older team like some of the counterparts in the division. 11 players have contracts that are 30 or older. Eight players have some level of no-trade protection. Pittsburgh has seven unrestricted free agents with only $20.2 million in projected cap space. That will go fast as the Penguins have holes to fill on the roster.

What To Do With Bryan Rust

Vensel writes that Rust is one of the players that has a full no-movement clause through the end of the 2024-25 season. Unless he asks for a trade or is asked to waive it, Rust is not going anywhere. Though he will bring value to the team in a trade, Rust loves it in Pittsburgh.

So What Hockey Trades Can They Make

The Penguins have some intriguing players teams will look at. In particular Jake Guentzel, Rickard Rakell, Jeff Petry and Marcus Pettersson. The Penguins can make a splash by moving one of them, but they are also key pieces in this lineup. Rakell has shown he is still a top-six forward but is very injury prone. Teams may be afraid there.

However, Guetznel is fascinating because he has a year left on his contract and the Penguins can start talking about a new contract this summer. If they can’t sign him to a new deal, moving him is the only option. But Guetznel like Rakell has some no-trade protection. But it is something the Penguins might have to look at.

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The Rest of the Roster

As Vensel points out unless the Penguins create cap space by moving Jeff Carter or Mikael Granlund, they will not be able to keep Jason Zucker. Carter most likely is playing the final deal in Pittsburgh because he has an over-35 contract and it will hurt the Penguins, even more, to buy him out. Trading Granlund is an option, but nobody is going to want the remaining two years at $5 million a season considering his production is going down.

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Vensel notes that while Jan Rutta‘s 2.75 million salary cap hit is not bad, it is too much for a third-pair defenseman. He could be an option on the trade market for a contending team looking for depth.

A big area the Penguins will need to fill is goaltending. It was a miscue under the old regime. Tristan Jarry appears to be out the door and with the way Casey DeSmith is playing at the IIHF World Championships, he most likely will be back. But the question remains who will be the starter?

This Penguins roster needs work and there is not a lot of money to fill the areas to keep this team in Cup or bust mode any longer.






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