PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)-The NHL Trade Deadline is a week away and the sudden rash of injuries to the Pittsburgh Penguins defense corps could force them to make a move that could involve trading away one of their most popular players.
Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford was a guest on “The Cook and Poni Show” on Wednesday and discussed the their thought process ahead of the deadline.
“We had been thinking we needed to add a defensemen or two,” Rutherford said. “Now that we have had these injuries, it tells us even more that we are going to need the extra depth.”
The thought is the Pens’ top trade piece would be goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. But, Rutherford said it won’t be easy to move him in a deal even if he wanted too.
“My preference is to keep him (Fleury),” Rutherford said. “There is not a strong market out there right now. Even if I was pushing hard to move him, there is just not a market.”
Rutherford added that Fleury has not asked to be traded and has shown no signs of being unhappy with his current situation with the Penguins. He says Fleury has been as professional as anyone he has ever seen and that he continues to be a leader and is all smiles in that locker room. However, only Fleury can truly say how he feels but Rutherford sees no signs of a player unhappy to still be in Pittsburgh after the deadline.
“He’s a Penguin and he wants to contribute,” Rutherford said. “And given the opportunity, I believe he will do it.”
Rutherford said that with the flurry of games (No pun intended) remaining on the schedule, it’s a must to have two goalies to carry the load.
He will be looking to add to this team, but doesn’t feel that he has to add new blood to shake things up.
“Championship teams don’t win unless you have chemistry,” Rutherford said. “The more chemistry and leadership you have in there, the better chance you have.”
We shall see what Rutherford is able to do before next week’s deadline, but we should trust a guy that won a Stanley Cup just last year and was named General Manger of the Year.
Listen to the full interview below, which includes Rutherford’s thoughts on when some of the injured Penguins might be able to return to the lineup.