Penguins have areas they still need to address but have limited cap space
The Penguins could still use a third-paring defenseman, a third-line center and an upgrade to some other parts. Trading goaltender Matt Murray seems inevitable.
A couple of younger defensemen seem ready to supplant Jack Johnson on their third pairing.
Buying out Nick Bjugstad, if deemed healthy, could save the Penguins $3.5 million next season but would add $1.75 million in 2021-22.
McCann could get $3 million in arbitration, so they could look to move him this offseason. Sportsnet reported two weeks ago that GM Jim Rutherford was testing the market.
The 33-year old Patric Hornqvist has three years left on his deal at $5.3 million. Injuries have been an issue. Would a team like the Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs or Edmonton Oilers be interested?
Letang expects to be traded
Letang has two years left on his deal and the team knows they’d be better with him in the lineup.
“If I’m running things in Pittsburgh, I’m looking at Letang and thinking about what my team would be if he got back to having great years,” one league source said. “And why wouldn’t Jim (Rutherford) or (Mike Sullivan) think that way? Didn’t they have the same thought a year ago about Malkin? And didn’t they figure it out with him?
“Maybe it’s just Letang’s turn for them to take a different approach.”
Multiple sources have said that Letang thinks he’ll be traded this offseason or during next season. Multiple sources have said that Rutherford has asked other GMs if they would be interested in Letang – more of a feeling out as opposed to trying to trade him.
“How is it ‘win-now mode’ if you trade our best defenseman?” one team source said. “Trading him just doesn’t make any sense.”