The Pittsburgh Penguins hired a new GM (Ron Hextall) and President of Hockey Operations (Brian Burke) after Jim Rutherford left at the end of January.
Their job will be to keep the Penguins competitive while also restocking the prospect shelves to continue being competitive in the future. I’m not sure how they do that exactly.
The Penguins still have Crosby and Malkin – two future hall of fame players- so the window is still technically open for the Pens. And according to Rob Rossi, Penguins owner Mario Lemieux wants both to retire as Penguins (subscription required). Both hold a combined $18.2 million cap hit until 2022. If the Penguins are going to stay competitive they’ll need to tinker with the rest of their roster.
Interest level: 4/5
The Penguins have pieces the Islanders would surely love to have. Guys like Jason Zucker, Bryan Rust, and Kasperi Kapanen all come to mind. Zucker’s cap hit is a bit hard to figure out. He carries a $5.5 million hit through the 2022-23 season. Rust and Kapanen hold a $3.5 million and $3 million cap hit through 2021-22, respectively.
Possibility of trade: 1/5
Relationships fuel business in hockey. Brian Burke and Lou Lamoriello go back, way back. Lou was Burke’s coach at Providence in the ’70s.
The Islanders are basically in the same boat as the Penguins though. They have a core of players they want to support by bringing in more quality but also have to re-stock their system with top-quality players. Further complicating things is the fact that both sides are in the same divisino.