In his latest 31 Thoughts column for Sportsnet, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman connects the dots on a potential deal between the struggling Edmonton Oilers and the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
While the Oilers were rumored to be in on talks regarding Penguins defenseman Ian Cole, Friedman believes that the team’s waiver claim on former Montreal Canadiens blue liner Brandon Davidson has put that to rest. Instead, Friedman shines the spotlight on two pending unrestricted free-agents on the Oilers’ roster and wonders if there’s a trade fit with the Penguins.
According to Friedman:
There are two UFA-to-be-pieces that could make sense for the Penguins: Mark Letestu and Pat Maroon. They know Letestu well. My only question about Maroon is Mike Sullivan loves speed, and Maroon, a finisher, isn’t a burner.
Mark Letestu is an interesting choice, especially given that he could fill a giant hole for the Pens at their third line center position. As for Patrick Maroon, he’s really only put up points when playing alongside superstar Connor McDavid… and there’s a bit of concern around his defensive game. That certainly wouldn’t work in his favor with Pens head coach Mike Sullivan.
Keep in mind that the NHL undergoes a trade freeze a week today, so if Pens GM Jim Rutherford and Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli want to get a deal done, they better act fast!