PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger joined The Fan Morning Show on Tuesday to offer the latest inside scoop on the NHL trade deadline and the Penguins’ pursuit of Ryan Kesler.
Here is some of what he had to say:
On the likelihood of Kesler being dealt to the Pens:
“The interest is considerable from the Pittsburgh Penguins’ perspective, and if you’re Ryan Kesler, you have to be intrigued to say the least. He has to look at the Pittsburgh Penguins as a perennial Stanley Cup contender, and there isn’t a player in the National Hockey League that doesn’t suit up with the sole purpose of getting to that point. I look at Pittsburgh as being as good a spot for Ryan Kesler as any. When I look at some of the other teams that might be in the mix, I put them below Pittsburgh in terms of expectation of closing on that deal. But in saying that, this one’s complicated for financial reasons. It’s not going to be an easy fit, but the Penguins are going to take a real hard stab at it.”
On the rumored asking price for Kesler being so steep:
“That’s the price you have to pay when you’re dealing with players of this significance. Ryan Kesler is highly sought-after, and when news broke a week or more ago that in fact he was in play, I think that there was also a ripple of shock that went across the National Hockey League because when he is healthy, he competes as hard as any player in the league, he’s gritty obviously to play against, he’s got the size, and he can generate the offense. So there’s a lot of positives, and when players of that significance are available, the only price to pay is a premium.”
On the Penguins’ hunger for improvement:
“That’s one thing, again, that I admire about the Pittsburgh Penguins. As strong and as deep as they are, this group never gets enough. They’re always looking at ways of improving.
On Kesler’s desire to win:
“He has tremendous say in where he goes. If he’s given a choice between Pittsburgh and anywhere else, I’m going to hazard a guess he’s going to choose the Pittsburgh Penguins because of the opportunity to win.”
On the potential of the Oilers’ Ales Hemsky being dealt to the Penguins:
“I think that that’s a possibility, and obviously an affordable fit for the Pittsburgh Penguins. What I know from the Edmonton Oilers is that they want to do something good for Ales Hemsky. Ales Hemsky has been nothing but a great soldier for the Oilers. I think it’s less about the return for the Oilers, and more about the opportunity for Ales Hemsky. So, if Ray Shero is legitimately interested, I don’t think he’s going to have to pay a lot to get him.
The interview can be heard here: