Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford isn’t shy about taking what he needs on the NHL trade market. Sensing his team needed a boost down the stretch during the 2015-16 season, Rutherford made three huge trades that ended up securing the Penguins a Stanley Cup championship. The players acquired in those deals, Trevor Daley, Carl Hagelin and Justin Schultz were HUGE during the team’s Cup run. The following season Rutherford was at it again, acquiring Ron Hainsey, Eric Fehr and Mark Streit in three separate deals. Again… HUGE.
This time around, it looks as if Rutherford has done his deadline shopping early. Riley Sheahan, Jamie Oleksiak and Michael Leighton have all been acquired mid-season, but still… there are gaping holes in the Pens’ lineup. The biggest need for the team is obvious to anyone who has watched them this season: 3rd line center. According to a report from Sportsnet reporter and NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, Rutherford and the Penguins have found their fit, however.
“If there’s one player we should be keeping an eye on in Ottawa, it’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau,” said Friedman’s colleague Chris Johnston during CBC’s Saturday Headlines segment last night. “He’s drawn the most interest and I believe there’s been an offer of a trade.”
The team who made the offer? You guessed it…
“One of the teams that’s looking hard at Pageau is Pittsburgh,” added Friedman. The offer, whether it was from the Penguins or not, has been rejected, at least for the time being.
The 25-year-old Pageau has six goals and 15 points in 42 games with the Ottawa Senators this season, but he’s just a season and a half removed from a 19 goal, 43 point campaign. Could he be a fit on the Penguins’ third line? He’d almost certainly be an upgrade over Sheahan at this point, but could he be the next Nick Bonino?