The longest week of many of our lives is upon us: the NHL trade deadline week. I've been checking twitter constantly, this site among many others, feverishly waiting for the first deal to go down.
I think many of us will be disappointed, particularly with the Penguins at the deadline.
The Penguins' ability to make a deal at the deadline has been crippled as a result of a stroke to Kris Letang and a hand injury for Paul Martin. Now, assets like Simon Despres are not expendable. The team does have a 2014 1st round pick, as well as many valuable assets on the back end down in the A and in junior. They also have the oft-injured but high-upside winger Beau Bennett.
Now, I'm a big Beau fan. He's got tons of upside. He can score, he can skate, he's put on some weight. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to show any of this at the NHL level as he's been made of glass since his debut. Personally, I'm tired of waiting around to see if he's the future winger for Sid or Geno. He could turn into a 30 goal scorer. He could develop into a 1st or 2nd line NHL player. But I'm a little tired of waiting, and I think that before more injuries occur that it may be time to sell on his stock.
My suggestion to the pens is bring in more grit. It's clearly what they're lacking. Gritty players who can also chip in on offense. They're not easy to come by, but every Cup team has them (see Brian Bickell, Brandon Shaw, Marchand). Aside from Kunitz they don't have anyone in this realm, and although I love kuni and his impact on this team is without question important in the drive for a cup, he isn't as gritty as any of the aforementioned players nor does he get under the skin of opponents.
If I'm Ray Shero, I'm calling Winnipeg daily checking on the status of Andrew Ladd. He's EXACTLY what this team needs. Can score, wears a C so must be a good locker room guy, can hit, can forecheck, plays a 200 foot game. Do whatever it takes to at least begin conversations with Cheveldayoff.
If Ladd doesn't work out, I'm phoning 3 hours north about the services of Steve Ott. Similar to Ladd except way more of a pest and much less offensive upside.
I'm also calling out to Colorado to reacquire the services of Max Talbot. It's not so much about what he does on the ice compared to what he does off. Clearly, Talbo is a gel player who players love to play with. He has flexibility (played with Geno a lot in '09). Maybe his speed and grit is what we need to get Sutter relevant on the opposing side of the red line, cuz not much else is working.
I'm also leaving the blue line alone. I have NO idea what this organizations quip is with Despres, but I think he's a high upside blue liner with plenty of skill and ability to move the puck. People in this organization seem to forget he was the OHL D of the year 2 years ago, and is the most important Dman for the baby pens. Everyone down there has praised his work ethic in improving his defensive mindset.
All in all, I'm hoping that the Pens acquire some grit with some skill, and don't look to make the hero splashes that they tried last year with Iggy and Morrow. I'm confident Fleury will bounce back, and if not that Voky will be healed by then.
Hoping for some splashes around the league nonetheless.