I took some questions via Twitter and here they are with the answers:
How many current Penguins would you see drawing a first round pick in a 1-for-1 trade? Let’s say the 16th overall pick, for argument sake. (Not that you want to trade these guys, just who all has that value currently)
This is an interesting question because some of the answers have certainly changed based on recency bias. For example, before the year Jason Zucker might be a player you could get a first round pick for if he was having a good season, obviously not the case anymore. Jared McCann is the opposite. You probably could have gotten him for cheaper while now his price might actually start with a mid-first round pick.
I think the usual suspects are still there with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang. Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel both certainly qualify. After watching what David Savard went for it is hard to dismiss Brian Dumoulin’s value if he were ever shopped consider the year he is having.
I think that’s the list or at least the ones I’m comfortable saying would go for a first round pick. You never know though, Paul Gaustad once went for a first round pick so all it takes is one general manager.
If you could be at two Pens home games from the past - one at the igloo, one at the new arena - what two games would you pick to be at?
There have been a lot of great games at the Igloo and some of those have been from the Crosby/Malkin era, but it would be tough to not want to be at the Igloo for Mario’s prime. There’s no better place than the Civic Arena during the playoffs with Mario and Jagr going off, the air raid siren, and John Barbaro on the public address.
It is tough to choose, but I think it has to be a playoff game, it has to have a lot of scoring, and it has to be dramatic. I think my choice would be Game 1 of the 1992 Stanley Cup Final. This is the one where the Penguins fell way behind the Blackhawks 4-1 and came back in dramatic fashion to win 5-4 at the very end of regulation with 13.4 seconds left. It was off a faceoff play scored by none other than Mario Lemeiux. This game also includes Jagr’s legendary goal coming off the half wall and juking like three guys and Belfour. It would be tough to find a better game and/or atmosphere to be at
PPG Paints arena hasn’t been around as long, but it has already had its share of great moments. Having Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin makes having those moments inevitable.
I think I’m going with Game 6 against the Capitals in 2016. This was the game where the Penguins closed out the series and went to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in three years. The game had two Phil Kessel goals to open things up with Carl Hagelin adding the third goal. This was HBK at its finest. The Penguins ultimately blew their 3-0 lead, partly due to taking three consecutive delay of game penalties in the third period. Nick Bonino saved the day in overtime and completed the HBK scoring trifecta. It wasn’t the same game but, BONINO BONINO BONINO BONINO BONINO BONINO BONINO!
Perhaps the best Penguins team of all-time doing what the Penguins do best, eliminating Washington from playoff contention.
Any Penguin that you’ve been pleasantly surprised or disappointed?
I think Cody Ceci is having a very strong year for the role the team has asked him to play. He’s eating minutes and has not been a liability. This has allowed the Penguins to go with their normal top four of Dumoulin-Letang and Pettersson-Marino. Also, Jack Johnson is helping the team more than he has in years and is only making 1.16M this year.
The most disappointing player so far has been Jason Zucker. He just hasn’t been good by any metric. He has had every opportunity to try and snap out of his funk and it just hasn’t happened. He’s shooting 14.9% and only has seven goals and 11 points in 27 games. He needs to step it up (he did score last game).
Do you think the pens trade a Dman at the draft? If so, who are the most likely Dmen to be moved?
I don’t have a unique answer here. I think Marcus Pettersson remains the obvious candidate to shave money off of the roster. If you truly believe Oliver-Joseph is an NHL player then you have to eventually make room for him to play in the NHL. Take advantage of his ELC and use the money elsewhere on the roster. I don’t know if it will be at the draft, but he remains the likeliest to move. Although, Ron Hextall has a history of moving rough contracts so maybe hold out a sliver of hope for a Mike Matheson trade… maybe…?
What’s a realistic contract for Ceci? Not will they sign him, but what could you see Ceci getting this off-season. He has been stellar for the Pens. I wouldn’t mind keeping him around on a 1 or 2 year contract but not at the expense of FWD depth.
I would offer the same deal, one-year 1.25M. You don’t want to get too crazy throwing money around for a bottom pairing guy. Chad Ruhwedel is still signed for next year for almost half the amount and he has always been competent in a bottom pairing role. Ceci has been a pleasant surprise, but no need to give a healthy raise or term. More power to him if he can get it from somebody else.
Does this team have a legit shot to win the division and make the final 4? How do you see them finishing?
They absolutely have a legit shot to do both things you mention. I think the East Division is a little more pedestrian than people thought at the beginning of the year. I think avoiding Boston is probably the best path forward for the Penguins in order to making the final four, but they can certainly play with them and beat them. This of course hinges on the Penguins health and getting Evgeni Malkin back and looking like he did immediately before the injury.