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Hextall's thoughts on the trade deadline

February 6, 2023, 12:46 AM ET [58 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
It is back to business for the Pittsburgh Penguins. They held practice today a day after the All Star game. They will be hosting the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. Ron Hextall also spoke to the media today. To nobody’s surprise many of the questions centered around the trade deadline and what the plans are going to be for the Penguins. Hextall has been under fire due to the lack of moves despite multiple long losing streaks this season. Here are some of the comments

While keeping in mind a general manager, well most general managers, aren’t going to go scorched earth even if they were angry with their team’s performance. This is a pretty stock response. He did talk about the problematic bottom six.

This is how the bottom six was always going to look. It was a neglected area and the idea that somehow this bottom six forward group was going to be sufficient was at best hopeful thinking and at worst a complete inability to assess talent and needs for the roster.

Yeah, when you have huge holes on your roster and you don’t do anything about it the results on the ice are going to be sporadic and not ideal. This has certainly been the case for the Penguins in 2022-23. He waited for the bottom six to find “chemistry” they were never going to find. They never were going to be good enough. The longer you wait to do something to address issues the more the pressure mounts. This is obvious stuff and comes with the job. The job Hextall signed up for.

What’s the deal with the Penguins first round pick in 2023?

While this doesn’t flat out reject the premise of using the first round pick in a trade I also don’t like the idea of shutting down different paths to use it. The Penguins should not be using their first round pick to take a prospect. They shouldn’t have last year, either. They need to be aggressively shopping the pick. When the team signed all of their extensions with the veteran players this summer it should have also come with the understanding they would use their futures to improve the current roster. You have to own the situation. There’s no building the now and the future. There’s only one or the other. Worry about the current product. They’ll come a day where this team stinks and that’s a good thing. Go bottom out again. The time for that is not 2022-23 or even next year. Give Crosby, Malkin, and Letang the best possible rosters while they are still good. Will it be Cup worthy? Most likely, not. They could however build a roster capable of winning a round or two on merit. Throw in some PDO luck at the right time and you never know.

Ultimately, Ron Hextall is not going to be evaluated on what he said today at a press conference. He will definitely be assessed on the things he either does or does not do in the next month. For many Penguins fan inaction is unacceptable.

Thanks for reading!
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