Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutheford has never been afraid to make major moves, especially during this time of year.
Now we know he isn’t afraid even if it means to ship out the second biggest player in the NHL. Yes, we are talking defenseman Jamie Oleksiak.
The Penguins have an abundance of defensemen which makes Oleksiak available and Rutherford is aware that teams are seeking ways to bolster their respective blue line.
Oleksiak is an interesting piece seeing that he can produce from the right or left side and is at an affordable contract, $2.1 million for two years beyond this season.
It remains to be seen what Rutherford could ask in return for Oleksiak at the deadline, but according to Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now, we could possibly base ourselves on some transactions from last year’s deadline.
Last year at the deadline defensemen Michal Kempny, Ian Cole and Brandon Davidson all brought back a 3rd round pick. All were pending UFAs which lowered the return.
The Penguins might be able to get a second round pick or a middle six winger for Oleksiak.
Rutherford does not usually sell from his blue line as many believe the most expected move coming from Pittsburgh will be to ship out forward Derick Brassard. Here is what TSN's Darren Dreger recently said on Insider Trading about Brassard being a trade bait for the Penguins.
"Brassard just simply wants to be on a playoff team and for whatever reason, it hasn’t worked out in Pittsburgh. That’s fine, you move on. Derick Brassard has been down this road before. But it’s going to be interesting to see how aggressive Jim Rutherford and the Pittsburgh Penguins get in terms of trying to move him. They aren’t going to give him away. They’d like to get a third line centre back as part of that return package. The Winnipeg Jets have explored some interest in Derick Brassard, but there will be some other teams that jump in as well."
However a team like the Toronto Maple Leafs, who is seeking grit and help on the back end, could inquire about Oleksiak down the line.