In the wake of pulling a losing draw in the great Zach Parise Sweepstakes of 2012 - which frankly isn't so bad unless you believe in giving $100 million contracts to players who probably won't sniff the Hall of Fame - the Pittsburgh Penguins are left with five legitimate Top-6 forwards. Ray Shero may choose to try to fill out the Top 6 with Tyler Kennedy. Alternatively, he could make a deal for one of like 170 other guys.
|"Let's take a look at some of those 170 other guys."|
Given that the entire universe outside of GTOG has simultaneously reached unanimous agreement that the 11th commandment is "thou shalt never take Chris Kunitz off of a line with Malkin and Neal," we're looking for a winger for Sid, and we're working on a deadline - the 2013 trade deadline. No rush, because this is for keeps. Here's the game: 1) the price has to be right, i.e. we're not giving up multiple roster players and a top prospect for a 27-year-old who'll still be making $7.8M when he 35; and 2) we'll need a viable top-line wing on a team that may have some incentive to make a deal. Let's play.
1) Ryan Clowe, San Jose Sharks
Clowe has averaged 54 points per season over the last 4 years on a successful team that's played in a lot of big games (mostly lost them, but still). We have no idea whether Clowe would be available, but here's what we do know -- the Sharks are one of the highest spending teams in the league and Clowe is a UFA at the end of the season. Ray Shero and his scouting staff have accumulated a plethora of exciting defensive prospects, or at least have convinced the media to push the notion that all of them are going to make the hall of fame. But here's the thing about having 10 stellar defensive prospects: you can only dress 6. If at some point it becomes clear that the Sharks can't or won't re-sign him...well, 8 or 9 stellar defensive prospects should be enough. His cap hit this year is a very reasonable $3.625 million.
2) Chris Stewart, St. Louis Blues
This guy isn't under the radar anymore, thanks to this insightful analysis. If you don't follow Mike Colligan on Twitter, you're missing out.
3) Nathan Horton, Boston Bruins
|Soft tissue injury, maybe?|
Burrows is a fan favorite in Vancouver (no idea if that's true but it sounds right) and the Canucks are perennial contenders so it may be hard to pry him away. But if we just trade one of our great forward prospects ... oh, nevermind.
5) Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
The Flames have expertly maneuvered themselves into a position where they have one of the highest payrolls in the league with almost no chance of winning the Stanley Cup. They also have a general manager who gave Dennis Wideman a $26 million contract despite the fact that even Washington Capitals' fans knew enough last year to know that Wideman was terrible. Iginla has a huge cap hit at $7 million, but if the Pens get him mid season that number is prorated. An unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, Iginla has been the subject of trade rumors for years. He may be 35 and his numbers may be on the (modest) decline, but we'd at least know he'd have chemistry with Sid.
Sure, you'd have to give up a lot of "prospects" to get him, but prospects are prospects for a reason -- they haven't done anything yet. People fretted over losing Angelo Esposito in the Hossa trade. We're not even sure he's ever played an NHL game. Banners were pre-ordered to commemorate all of the 40-goal seasons Eric Tangradi was supposed to have. We're not even sure he's ever scored a goal. The Pens have two of the most valuable assets in the NHL -- guys with potential, and a lot of cap space. And the Pens have THE two most valuable assets in the NHL -- Crosby and Malkin. Time is now.