PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The NHL trade deadline is just three weeks away.
Last year, it was a significant time for the Pittsburgh Penguins as General Manager Jim Rutherford made some brilliant moves that helped the team win their fourth Stanley Cup.READ MORE: 'Extraordinary People': Flight 93 Families Open Nominations For New Heroism Award
So, what will happen this year, if anything?
KDKA-TV Sports’ Bob Pompeani Reports:
KDKA’s Bob Pompeani sat down with Rutherford to talk about if there’s any moves that are on the way.
Pompeani: “You will certainly get calls about Marc-Andre Fleury, or at least the goaltender position, how much will you listen?”
Rutherford: “I’ll listen, and, if anything comes along, I’ll bring it to the goalie and talk about it. But I have the utmost respect for Marc, and I know it’s been a difficult situation for him. He is used to playing the majority of the games. He is still a very good goalie and will be for many years, but we do have expansion coming up. We have the cap to look at next year, and, of course, we are trying to win a Stanley Cup. So, it’s a little bit of a difficult situation that I have to make a tough decision on. But in an ideal world, having both goalies going into the playoffs would be good for us. But we don’t always live in an ideal world, so we will see what plays out here in the next few weeks.”
Pompeani: “Do you feel the need to make a trade right now, or is this team, as constructed, good enough to make a significant run again?”
Rutherford: “We need to get healthy, elevate our game, ratchet it up a couple of levels. As long as we do that, I have not seen any team we’re not capable of beating. Having said that, I’ll be in the mix here with all the other general managers. I’ll listen to what’s going on. Maybe there is something out there that does make some sense.”READ MORE: NASA Rocket Launch Should Be Visible Along East Coast Monday Night
One thing that does make sense is adding veteran depth on the blue line, but Rutherford says he won’t force anything there.
Rutherford: “There’s a price to be paid to adding depth guys and we’ve gone a long time here, trading draft picks, and I’ve been part of it. Right now, were sitting with eight draft picks going into this year’s draft, and there comes a point in time where you have to do everything you can to win a championship, but you also have to start to fill up the cupboard. You know, the cupboard gets a little bit bare when you move a lot of your draft picks, so I’d really like to keep our draft picks to start getting more prospects in the pipeline.”
WEB EXTRA: Jim Rutherford 1-On-1 —
Back to the goaltender situation for one final comment, and while it is the hottest topic right now, Rutherford says his preference is to keep both of their goalies until after the playoff run is complete. The expansion draft won’t influence that decision.
Rutherford: “We can wait until it’s time to put our expansion list in. I’m not concerned about getting backed into a corner in any way as far as our protected list goes with our goalies. I’ve had enough time with Marc’s agent to know that we will be able to make the right decisions for him and the team at that time.”
Pompeani: “A lot of people expected a distraction, but it has never happened, and quite frankly, I didn’t expect that given those two guys. Did you ever expect that to be a problem?”
Rutherford: “No, there is not going to be a distraction. We have too strong a group in that room and we have two strong personalities and character in Fleury and Murray. And you are not going to find a better professional athlete than Marc-Andre Fleury. He handles all situations like a true professional, first class, and I would expect that’s going to happen right through this season.”MORE NEWS: Mother Pleads For Answers In 21-Year-Old Son's Unsolved 2019 Murder