With it looking more and more likely it’s a matter of “when” and not “if” the Pittsburgh Penguins hit the trade market to add a top-six scoring winger ahead of next month’s trade deadline, the focus shifts to just who it might be.
The rental market might be cheaper to add a Tyler Toffoli to the mix, with the likelihood that the Pens and Rangers probably won’t be able to work with each other to talk about Chris Kreider.
But there are several other options on the table too, since Rutherford hasn’t closed his mind to just a rental. The Pens have the ability to shift some salary around and add a player who has a contract next year. The math on how that happens isn’t a pressing matter at this point and expiring contracts to veterans unlikely to return in Alex Galchenyuk and Justin Schultz open up all the operating room required at this point before worrying about summer decisions like the raises to several young players over the summer, which more room can be found by any number of future moves.
Some names mentioned as possibilities include Minnesota’s Jason Zucker, any one of the Ducks’ NHL caliber forwards if they’re inclined to do a rebuild and perhaps several more possibilities. Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau? Or Detroit’s Andreas Athanasiou? The list of inquiries to touch base on could be long, to find available players at a reasonable trade acquisition cost.