In today’s NHL rumors and news update, there are reports the Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to acquire a center thanks to the injury to Evgeni Malkin, the Blues are trying to figure out what to pay Alex Pietrangelo, the Predators have run into a contract issue and Brian Boyle may be close to signing with an NHL team.
Penguins to Trade D-man for Center?
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s latest Insider Trading (video link), the Penguins are shopping a defenseman in the hopes they can acquire a center. After the leg injury to Evgeni Malkin — an injury that will see him miss four-to-six weeks — and loss of Nick Bjugstad (four weeks), the Penguins feel they need to do something.
The first names that come up are Jack Johnson and Erik Gudbranson. But, don’t rule out the team moving a depth option like Juuso Riikola.
Rob Rossi of The Athletic reports that Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said it’s too early to pursue a trade for a center, so this may not be something happens right away, or it could be an indication that there’s not market out there for a player like Jack Johnson. Rossi speculates the Penguins may call up a couple of forwards from their AHL affiliate.
If a trade is out there, the Penguins will need to be careful who they add in terms of salary so they have options when the two injured stars come off the injury list.
Interest Growing in Brian Boyle?
As per Bob McKenzie of TSN he reports there’s significant interest in Brian Boyle from a number of NHL teams. The free-agent center has yet to sign a contract with anyone but that likely will change in the coming days.
One would have to assume the Penguins are a team that would be interested with their injuries and need for a center.
Notables from Friedman’s 31 Thoughts Article
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman included a few newsworthy items in his latest installment of 31 Thoughts. Among the notable items, he says contract negotiations between the Nashville Predators and Roman Josi have hit a snag.
Speculation is that he might be asking for more than $9 million per season on a new deal which eliminates the feeling that he’ll sign a hometown discount.
Friedman also writes that the St. Louis Blues are hoping to use Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s contract as a comparable in negotiations with Alex Pietrangelo. While the team tries to figure out how to keep their captain in the fold after spending a large chunk of their salary cap on Brayden Schenn and Just Faulk, the team will have to hope Pietrangelo is willing to sign for around the $8.25 million per season mark.
Friedman confirmed the idea that the Penguins might trade a defenseman when he wrote, “A lot of the trade talk on the Penguins blue line surrounds Jack Johnson, but another possibility is Juuso Riikola. He hasn’t got into a game yet.”