Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford came clean on Tuesday when asked about the ongoing chatter surrounding forward Phil Kessel.
It seems very unlikely that he will be moved this summer after a trade fell through with the Minnesota Wild last month, and is expected to start the 2019-20 in a Penguins’ uniform.
However, we know too well the Penguins need to shed salary and are expected to make significant changes to become strong Cup contenders once again.
Could this mean that star forward Evgeni Malkin will be placed on the trade block this summer?
Last week, chatter got louder that a potential blockbuster trade could take place to send Malkin to the Florida Panthers for a return that would potentially included Jonathan Huberdeau and a first-round pick. However, it seems that Rutherford has once again changed his speech on Malkin and the major trades that could come to Pittsburgh.
As of this week, following in interview with The Athletic, it seems like Malkin is back to being an untouchable, along with team captain Sidney Crosby. But more fans are starting to believe the Penguins are just lying through their teeth…
“Changes are coming,” Rutherford said. “Changes are in order, for sure. At this point in time, I don’t know exactly what they are going to be. It’s hard to say right now, but changes are coming. I’ll say this, though. I don’t think we’re going to make any changes that I would refer to as massive. I’d say I’m looking to re-tool more than anything.”
And we all know his speech could change quickly once again, so… We might have to keep you posted on all the speculations.
One thing that remains unchanged for now for the Penguins is that they are currently projected to have just $3.22 million in cap space (on a projected $83 million cap) this summer with three players - Marcus Pettersson, Zach Aston-Reese and Teddy Blueger - slated for restricted free agency.