Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has proven many times in the past that he can pull off major moves that no one saw coming. But could he be able to acquire two top players, ahead of the trade deadline, and make a long postseason run?
According to NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, the Pens have a great appetite for change, and could manage to pull off two blockbuster trades with two Eastern Conference rivals.
"I think they’ve had some interest in Evander Kane. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were interested in Max Pacioretty. They’re looking. I think if they could, they’d add a winger and a center. I wouldn’t be surprised if they could do both," explained Friedman on Vancouver's Sportsnet 650.
"I think that there’s a lot of concern there and they’re looking to do something. I’ll tell you this: I had a conversation with a general manager yesterday, it was pretty funny. He just said to me, ‘I hope nobody helps Pittsburgh.’ Like, it’s enough. They’ve won twice in a row. Why is somebody going to help them. So I kind of laughed and thought that was pretty funny.”
NHL insider Darren Dreger agreed with Friedman on the Pens being very active on the market ahead of the deadline when he took the air on TSN 1040.
"I don’t think there’s any doubt that Jim Rutherford is going to do something,” agreed Dreger. “And your evaluation/assessment/recollection is bang-on. It’s looking back at the moves that he’s made, sometimes they’re depth moves like Ron Hainsey that turned out to be a key move that helped the Pittsburgh Penguins last year win a Stanley Cup because he elevated into a Top 4 and some nights, some shifts, a top-pairing defenseman. And he was brought in to be a depth guy at best. Sometimes those little tweaks can turn out to be much bigger deals.
"I suspect that Jimmy will try and pull a couple of things off to try and energize that group."
We will have to wait and see if Rutherford can pull off a move, but there seems to be little doubt that the Pens GM is looking to make a significant change to his lineup.