It was announced earlier this afternoon that Teodors Blugers was expected be called up by the Pittsburgh Penguins from the AHL, and the organization has officially announced that particular news.
Along with that recall, however, was the news that two players were placed on the injured reserve, and will be out a week or longer.
Patric Hornqvist suffered a lower-body injury earlier this month and was announced as out on a week-to-week basis.
Tom Kuhnhackl was given the same prognosis by Mike Sullivan earlier today.
Kuhnhackl has been an underrated player on the bottom line of the team, and we all know what Hornqvist brings to the table. Despite not being a point leader, his contributions are some of the most important on the roster. His energy and intensity is unrivalled, and the hope is that he gets back much sooner than later.
We reported earlier this week that this could foreseeably have an impact on Jim Rutherford's trade plans, so we'll have to see how it all shakes out, with several players nursing injuries.
This couldn't have come at a worse time - this is arguably the toughest part of the schedule, as the standings start to take shape. With the difficulty of being in the Metropolitan division, the Penguins need all hands on deck to keep up with the rest of the competition.
Their 63 points are good for second in the division, but every team trailing them holds at least one game in hand on them, making the gap between the teams potentially smaller than it looks.
PENGUINS TO MAKE MULTI-PLAYER DEAL WITH THE OILERS?
As the trade deadline approaches, talks are intensifying between teams, and we're hearing a lot more information from the top insiders in the hockey business.
A recent report from The Fourth Period connected the Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins in what could be a significant trade within the next couple of weeks.
The Penguins are ideally looking for a 3rd line centre. Riley Sheahan may have to suffice as the team's pivot in that position, but if Jim Rutherford can upgrade at the position, he will. He's also looking for another scoring winger.
The Oilers, on the other hand, are selling off, as this season is all but over. Patrick Maroon and Mark Letestu are two of the most talked about rental assets that Edmonton has to offer, and they happen to be a winger and depth centre.
While there are obviously more talented options on the market, they may come cheapest, and will fit the bill well enough. Rutherford doesn't have a ton of great assets to give up, so Edmonton appears to be the perfect trade partner.
And this isn't just conjecture on our part.
From The Fourth Period's report:
"While it’s too early to guarantee whether either forward ends up, if moved, there seems to be considerable interest in teams in the East, including the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have been eyeing both players."
East-West trades are seemingly more common occurrences than in-conference trades, so this lines up with that general trend. This seems like a perfect match.
The Penguins have some B-prospects they could give up along with draft picks.
Maroon has 13 goals and 13 assists for 26 points in 50 games this year - he's coming off a career-high 27-goal season in 2016-17.
Letestu has 8 goals and 17 points in 51 games. He scored a career-high 16 goals last season. He's known to be able to play in most situations, and could be a decent option for Pittsburgh, should they decide to acquire both players from Edmonton.
Photo Credit: Keystone Press