We are three hours away from the 2015 NHL Entry Draft from Sunrise, FL and the Penguin rumors have been hard and heavy all day long. The week long #KesselWatch, along with more details on a potential deal with the St. Louis Blues involving Brandon Sutter and T.J. Oshie. There's also a tidbit that the Penguins, along with Montreal Canadiens, are the two most pushing for Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp.
Below are some tweets to drive any fan crazy with anticipation:
A lot to take in and a lot to mull over.
Whether the Penguins make a deal or not tonight does not determine their off-season success or failures. The lack of assets to trade away, probable unwillingness to trade either young defenseman in Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta. It's not so easy to just dump Brandon Sutter, Chris Kunitz, and/or Rob Scuderi.
So, do the Penguins make a trade tonight during Round 1? Do they wait until tomorrow after gauging the level of interest on the floor tonight? A lot of questions to be asked and potentially no answers to be had.
While Kessel and Oshie seem to be the biggest names floating around, that could all be speculative. Remember #PariseWatch, and #JagrWatch, and #KeslerWatch, and most recently, #KaneWatch? If I remember correctly, the Pens are batting 0-for-4 on these "watches", so call me reserved on whether a deal is done with these Olympians.
Sharp seems like a long-shot, but one can't deny that a right-handed shot would look alongside Evgeni Malkin, while David Perron lines up with Sidney Crosby.
Another name that has been floating around is Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner. The young winger who has had a slew of concussion issues could be a valuable player on the Penguins, if he can stay healthy. And it's not just him that would need to stay healthy either. While "nothing is imminent", Skinner's name is thrown out there.
Regarding free agency, the big news coming out of Pittsburgh is that they plan to add KHL winger, Sergei Plotnikov. This move does not seem like it will be the top-6 solution that everyone is looking for, but it should make Evgeni Malkin happy to have a fellow Russian on the team once again.
I saw on Twitter last night that the Pens may be interested in Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward. I personally like Ward, especially if he can be had for a cheap price. If he's looking for a raise or an absurd number/term, then pass.
Other names that have popped up have been Tyler Kennedy, Michael Frolik, Sergei Gonchar, Justin Williams, etc. Whether or not these names have any traction remains to be seen, but I'm sure we'll find out come July 1.
Very simply; whatever the Penguins do or do not tonight, it must be a smart decision. They are limited on assets to nab the big names being tossed around. They have already risked their future, more or less, in trading away draft picks for the "win-now" philosophy. They have four picks this draft and three contracts that they desperately want to dump, at least two guaranteed.
Are Kessel, Sharp, Oshie, Skinner and other big names enticing? Of course. Do they fix the issues? Possibly. Is it worth imploding the roster and future once again? No.
Whatever happens, happens. Half will be happy, half will be upset. The wonderful life of being a Pittsburgh Penguins fan.