The Pittsburgh Penguins and GM Jim Rutherford made no attempt to hide the fact that they were after a third-line center early in the season. Rutherford admitted several times that he had certain candidates in mind, and eventually went out and added Riley Sheahan from the Detroit Red Wings. Sheahan wasn’t the “impact” player that Rutherford had spoken about, but he was at least a temporary fit for the team as they figured out what to do next.

Many still believe the Penguins will add that third-line player at the trade deadline, bumping Sheahan down a spot and away from Phil Kessel’s unit. Adding more skill would certainly be beneficial, or at least it seemed so before a recent surge in Sheahan’s production—four assists in five games. Now, as Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes in his latest 20 Penguins Thoughts, they may not add a third-line center after all, instead making a smaller deal to strengthen the position.

Mackey suggests that Sheahan’s comfort level with Kessel has improved lately, and he points to Matt Cullen as the obvious answer to slide into the lineup.