First things first: As news started to trickle in after 3:00 today that Pittsburgh made two trades, Pens fans could breathe a sigh of relief as Marc Andre Fleury will remain in the black and gold for at least the rest of this season.
It’s inevitable that the Penguins are going to lock up Matt Murray this summer instead of Fleury when it comes time for the expansion draft. The reality is Murray’s younger, cheaper, and better than Fleury. However, as tough as it may be to watch Fleury play the role of backup, not moving him now speaks volumes as to how the Penguins feel about his value going forward for the rest of the season. Jim Rutherford could’ve easily made the business decision to trade Fleury and dump his $5.75 million cap hit, but instead he decided to retain him. There aren’t many backup goalies that could easily be the starter on more than half of the other teams in the league. So kudos to old Jimmy for making the difficult decision to choose goalie insurance down the stretch over potentially losing Fleury for no return come summer time.
Moving along, while we all thought Phil Kessel was hinting at Fleury’s departure in his Instagram post on Monday, it was actually Eric Fehr that was enjoying his “last supper” with the Penguins. Rutherford was forced to make a deal to dump Fehr’s $2 million cap hit after Fehr went unclaimed on waivers earlier today. In addition to trading Fehr, Pittsburgh shipped away minor league defenseman Steve Olesky and a fourth-round pick to Toronto for 23-year old defenseman Frank Corrado. Much like Ron Hainsey, Frank Corrado isn’t going to get anyone’s dick hard in Pittsburgh, but he adds depth to an already depleted blue line. Corrado’s a mobile defenseman (which the Pens seem to favor) that has struggled for playing time in his young career. Who knows, though, Justin Schultz was a dud full of untapped potential in Edmonton before the Pens scooped him prior to the trade deadline last year. Corrado could easily revive his confidence (and playing time) on a team that’s likely to contend for another Stanley Cup.
Finally, the Pens biggest deal of the day came from a trade with
Philly Tampa as Pittsburgh sent a 2018 fourth-round pick to the Lightning for veteran defenseman Mark Streit. Interestingly enough, this was the second time in the day that Streit was traded. Before making his way to the Burgh, Philadelphia shipped Streit to Tampa earlier in the day for Valterri Filppula. What seemed to be a pretty fair trade between Philly and Tampa as far as cap hits are concerned, the Flyers got straight up cucked by Stevie Y as he immediately shipped Streit and his cap $5.25 million cap hit up to Pittsburgh. With Fehr getting traded to Toronto and Trevor Daley going on long-term injured reserve, the Pens were capable of taking Streit’s hefty cap hit. Streit, an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, will definitely bolster the Pens blue line while guys like Kris Letang, Olli Maata, and Trevor Daley remain out of the lineup. He’s old as balls at age 39, but he’s still a very gifted puck-moving defenseman that can be used on the power play.
All in all, I’d have to say it was another good trade deadline for Jimmy Rutherford and the Penguins. They were able to increase some much needed depth at defense while maintaining basically the rest of their lineup from last year’s Stanley Cup team. Hold onto your dick! Playoffs are right around the corner!