For The Penguins, Who's Most Likely To Go?

Our insider Jason Mackey with some specifics

The Fan Morning Show
June 24, 2019 - 11:50 am
Bryan Rust

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- The NHL Draft came and went without a significant roster move made by Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford.

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This is curious, considering Rutherford has threatened player movement and a "culture change" essentially since the season ended.

There was silence on the Penguins end. So now what? 

Related: Penguins Add 3 Forwards, 1 Defensive Player During Day Two Of NHL Draft

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Jason Mackey was in Vancouver covering the draft and joined The Fan Morning Show Monday to talk it all over. 

"He (Rutherford) was on the phone a lot. We're not privy to exactly what all of those conversations were about but I'm willing to bet they weren't all about draft picks. I do think that Jim wanted to do something, I still think he will do something but I think the idea of doing something big kind of died out in Vancouver. 

I don't think there's a deal out there for Rutherford to make for one of his stars that makes sense." 

So what's likely left is a deal that creates some cap space and Jason went into the particulars. 

"They're going to move Tristan Jarry. He's on a one-way contract, you're not going to keep Matt Murray, Casey DeSmith and Tristan Jarry. He's just the most movable prospect at this point. That'll free up $675,000 (against the cap). 

From there, it's who do you attach with it? Do you look at maybe moving a Bryan Rust? Do you look at maybe moving a Nick Bjugstad? And the question Rutherford needs to answer is, 'Does that actually make us a better team?' I can't say if it does or doesn't because you have to know what's on the other end of that return.

But those are the guys he can move out. You'd think if he could move Jack Johnson, he probably would have done it already. Those are your significant cap hits. I'm of the belief that if he could have done something with Phil Kessel to move the cap hit and the player out, by now, it would have happened. I don't think a deal all of the sudden is going to materalize, I could be wrong because that stuff certainly comes out of nowhere sometimes.

But I would be looking at Rust or Bjugstad if you're looking to move cap space."  

Jason also took a stab at what this "culture change" Rutherford keeps referring to might be all about. 

"I think what Jim is getting at here is a little bit more of like a hair-on-fire desire than an obvious desire to win. I would counter with an example like Jared McCann. Jared McCann comes in here and he's going a million miles per hour and he's excited and he's playing like this is an opportunity of a lifetime and it is.

I think they want to get more guys like that. I think that's what they sort of view Dominik Kahun to be. I think they're probably going to try to get another guy, whether a defenseman or a forward, who comes in here and just takes this opportunity and runs with it.   

I think another way of interpreting this culture change is somebody with a little bit more of a voice. Bryan Rust is a great guy but he's very quiet. Olli Maatta is a great guy but he's very quiet. There's a lot of Penguins players you can say that about. I used the example of Ron Heinsey. Somebody who's a little bit older, who can stir the pot, who can handle it, has got some miles on the tires. They could use somebody like that in the room."  

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