The NHL trade deadline is February 26 which is a little bit over a month away. Rutherford traded for defenseman Jamie Oleksiak from the Dallas Stars back in the December. Rutherford traded for centerman Riley Sheahan from the Detroit Red Wings back in October. Also there were rumors that Pittsburgh would trade away defenseman Kris Letang, defenseman Ian Cole, and forward Carl Hagelin, but that has obviously not happened and they were just rumors.
Should Rutherford stop making trades this season? Believe it or not the answer should be yes. The market is not that hot at all for what the Pittsburgh Penguins possibly want. I don’t think the value for Tyler Bozak (Toronto Maple Leafs), Alex Galchenyuk (Montreal Canadiens), Evander Kane (Buffalo Sabres), Mark Letestu (Edmonton Oilers), and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton Oilers and he’s injured) is all that hot. Pittsburgh could use them but I don’t think it is worth trading away a prospect and more draft picks this season.
They shouldn’t trade away draft picks this season for a couple of reasons: 1. The Metropolitan Division race is unpredictable. Pittsburgh is currently in fifth place in the Metro with a 26-21-3 record with 55 points. They are also in the second wild card spot in the east at the moment. The funny thing is they are one point back of the New Jersey Devils for the number two spot in the Metro (Pittsburgh, Columbus, Philadelphia, New Jersey all separated by one point). Also, the Pittsburgh Penguins could wind up missing the playoffs entirely and trading away future assets wouldn’t be a good thing. Obviously they care about the possibility of having a three-peat, something in which has hasn’t happened in 30 years, but they should be considerate of the future as well.
2. The farm system has been working: Goalies Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith have played in big roles. Matt Murray had to recently take time off because of the death of his father. Murray was also struggling a little bit and Jarry was able to win some games between the pipes. Antti Niemi didn’t pan out as the backup and Jarry and DeSmith have been better. Players like Dominik Simon, Daniel Sprong, and J.S. Dea have also helped out. They also have players like Zach Aston-Reese, Thomas Di Pauli, Teddy Blueger, Andrey Pedan, and Lukas Bengtsson waiting in the wings.
3. Teams are going to want draft picks if Pittsburgh decides to trade defenseman Ian Cole and/or forward Carl Hagelin. Pittsburgh might want something in return for Cole, but he is good insurance to have in case someone gets hurt. You don’t want Chad Ruhwedel or Frank Corrado as the seventh defenseman compared to Ian Cole. I bet Cole is frustrated being scratched and the last time he played in a game was on January 5 against the New York Islanders (W 4-0). Also, Hagelin has also played a lot better as of late and he has had good chemistry with Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist.
4. Pittsburgh has Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel and many teams don’t have those kind of goal scorers.
5. They are 24-5-1 in games this season when they have scored three goals or more in games this season.
I bet Jim Rutherford will make another trade this season before the trade deadline, but I don’t think he should.