This is another part in our series of the Pens Initiative NHL Trade Deadline Roundtable. To view the other entries, click here. Today's entry brought to you by Pensburgh's @LyleKossis.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Lyle's answers are from earlier in the week, and it looks like he got at least one of his wishes. Awesome scouting by Lyle regarding the team's needs and who could be useful (and not so useful) for the Penguins.
1) What do you consider to be the Pens greatest need as the deadline approaches? Do they need to address more than one area for you to consider them a legitimate Cup contender?
Let me start out by answering the second question. I don't think this team has any major weaknesses. Like the one last year, their biggest obstacle will be staying healthy through the playoffs. That doesn't mean they're perfect, of course, but I think we too often forget that every other team in the league (including the Kings and Hawks) have bad players on their roster. Even if we don't make any other moves, a healthy Penguins team will be a contender in the East.
That all being said, I think their biggest need is a bottom-six forward. It's cliche now, but I'd like to get to the point where the coaches have no choice but to bench Zach Sill. The third line still underperforms in terms of puck possession, and that puts too much strain on our top two lines to carry the team's weight around all of the time.
2) Rutherford doesn’t have a lot of cap room to work with ($791,000 as of this writing). If he is to address a perceived need, who do you view as a likely trade chip?
I would love to think Sutter or Scuderi, but if we're being realistic, I like Despres as a trade chip. We don't have great draft picks this year, and I don't think we'd trade next year's first rounder without a killer offer on the table. I also don't want to trade Harrington yet and Dumoulin probably isn't highly valued at this point in his career. Additionally, I don't think we have any roster players that we want to part with (other than the ones mentioned above), but you likely have to give something to get something. Despres could make sense since he's a young d-man on a good contract who's playing well this year. That doesn't mean I want to see Despres go; but given the current roster, I think he's the most efficient trade chip.
3) Who are three players likely to be available you'd like to see the Pens go after and why?
All of my suggestions have been floating around for a while now. Sean Bergenheim, Erik Condra, and Daniel Winnik would be great bottom-six additions. They drive play reasonably well and can also chip in points here and there. Given my answer to the first question, I think these guys should be our prime trade targets.
4) What current rumor would you NOT like to see happen?
I don't want to see a trade for a defenseman. I like where this team is at right now, since Despres, Letang, Martin, and Ehrhoff will round out a very good top 4. Pouliot has also impressed me a lot in recent weeks and I think he could be a full-time NHL-er for the rest of this season. Scuderi will always be a problem but he won't be scratched, and I don't think teams will trade for him. So bringing someone in to replace him doesn't make much sense to me.
5) Who do you consider “untouchable” (prospect or otherwise) in a trade scenario this year?
Crosby, Malkin, Letang, Maatta, Pouliot, and Perron are my untouchables. The first three should be obvious. I also include Maatta and Pouliot because these are young d-men on ELCs who have shown immense promise. They should be the future of our blueline for the next 10-15 years, and we'd be crazy to part with them. I also add Perron because he's a young top 6 forward on a great contract who can do things without Crosby and Malkin carrying him around. We haven't had much of that.
6) Imagine a scenario where the Penguins had around $10 million in space to play with. Which player (or players) would you love to see on this team?
If we're still being semi-realistic, I would love to see Jordan Staal back since he is one of the best possession players in the league. I'd also like to see Alex Semin spend some time with Evegni Malkin. He's been embattled in Carolina, but given the Russian connection and Malkin's talent, I wonder if Malkin could get him back to scoring 30+ goals a season.