PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – The NHL trade deadline is just over three days away. On Friday, TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger joined “The Fan Morning Show” to offer his inside scoop on the wheelings and dealings of the Penguins and other teams across the league.
Dreger doesn’t see Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford being a big player at the trade deadline, even though he is doing his due diligence.
“I don’t really get the feel that Rutherford and the Pittsburgh Penguins are going to be big game hunters in the days ahead,” Dreger said. “I’d, again, be very surprised if that were the case…but that’s not to say that he’s not listening and he’s not working the phones. If he’s able to find a defenseman…then that might be enough to get him going.”
He doesn’t believe Rutherford will have a problem standing pat, if that’s the best play.
“Yeah, he’s capable of doing nothing,” Dreger said. “I think he’s confident in the group. If the right piece is available to him at the right price, then obviously he’ll make [a trade], but I don’t think he’s going to lose any sleep if he doesn’t do anything dramatic.”
Dreger explained that while Rutherford does have an expendable player with “tremendous value” in up-and-coming goaltender Matt Murray, the Penguins value him so highly that they’re unlikely to part with him – despite the fact that he’s blocked by franchise netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.
“I’d be close to shocked if Rutherford considered dealing him,” Dreger said. “Really. I know there’s depth at that position in that organization, but I also know how Matt Murray is viewed around the National Hockey League. He could trade him in the next 60 seconds. That’s how much interest there is, because [general] managers and rival clubs see the long-term upside in Matt Murray. Anytime that I’ve talked to Rutherford about his prospects…and I’ve brought up Matt Murray’s name, he just says, no, forget it, I’m not doing that. That’s the regard that the Pittsburgh Penguins management team has for Matt Murray. So, if Murray is going to be a part of something, man, it’d better be big, and I don’t see that happening in the next few days here before Monday’s deadline. Maybe there’s something more significant that surfaces in the offseason.”
Dreger thinks that the Penguins are in the market for a big, physical defenseman, but has trouble seeing who they could target.
“It’s a need,” Dreger said. “There’s no question about that. Who is that guy is a tougher question to answer…I’d love to throw a name at you. Someone like Roman Polak might have been a good fit for the Pittsburgh Penguins, given his expiring contract and whatnot, but he’s no longer available…so it would likely be someone like that.”
That being said, he feels that there’s still time for the right name to pop up.
“The market hasn’t truly shown itself, yet, either,” Dreger said. “Kris Russell in Calgary is probably going to be too expensive for the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he’s not officially out there. They’re certainly listening to the interest that’s been presented. And I would say the same of Dan Hamhuis of the Vancouver Canucks, but his deal is a bit more complicated with a full no-trade clause. So, names will surface that maybe we haven’t considered, here in the next day or two, for sure.”
The interview can be heard here: