NHL Trade Buzz: Penguins may be active after recent struggles defensively


Welcome to the NHL Trade Buzz. There are five days remaining until the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline (3 p.m. ET; April 12). Here’s a look around the League at the latest deadline doings:


Pittsburgh Penguins

Do the Penguins need to do something to shore up their defense? Their penalty killing?

They have allowed 15 goals in the past two games, a 7-5 loss at the Boston Bruins on Saturday and an 8-4 loss at the New York Rangers on Tuesday. That included a 2-for-6 performance on the penalty kill, 2-for-3 against the Bruins and 0-for-3 against the Rangers.

“It’s unacceptable,” forward Jared McCann said. “We need to be better. We’re hanging our goalies out to dry.” 

Pittsburgh made big-name hires when they named Brian Burke as president of hockey operations and Ron Hextall as general manager Feb. 9 and each said last week that the Penguins were in the market for a center or power forward.

The struggles in their end could turn out to be just a blip, and injuries are a factor. Defenseman Mark Friedman (17 games) and forwards Teddy Blueger (11), Evgeni Malkin (10) and Kasperi Kapanen (six) have been out. Defenseman John Marino left with an injury Tuesday; coach Mike Sullivan had no update afterward.

The Penguins allowed 10 goals and went 22-for-23 on the penalty kill in seven games while going 6-0-1 from March 20-April 1. 

“We know we’re capable,” Sullivan said. “We’ve shown that.”

Still, the past two games might have exposed weaknesses, and the Penguins, third in the eight-team MassMutual East Division, where the top four teams will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, are in win-now mode with center Sidney Crosby still among the elite. 


Minnesota Wild

The Wild are all in, in the sense that they feel they can beat anyone amid the parity in the NHL. But they aren’t going to bet recklessly on pending unrestricted free agents.

“I’m not going to sell the farm just for a rental that’s going to blow town in a couple months,” general manager Bill Guerin said on “The Chirp with Daren Millard” podcast, which was released Tuesday. “We still want to build. We still want to accumulate prospects and draft picks and things like that, because we’re kind of building on the go. But when I say that we are in all-in, yeah, we’re all in because we want to win and we expect to win every night, and we expect our players to do the same.”

The Wild don’t need to do anything drastic. They’re third in the eight-team Honda West Division, five points ahead of the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes. The top four teams make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Asked about trade talk around the League, Guerin said with a laugh: “Crickets. I mean, hey, look, there’s calls being made. I’m sure other teams have things on the go. We don’t have much on the go right now. It’s just kind of quiet. But talking to different people every day. I don’t expect us to be too active, but if something comes up that makes sense, yeah, we’ll do it.”

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