Bet you didn’t see that coming? Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ron Hextall gave the NHL trade market a kick on Saturday. He picked up the phones, dumped salary, and retooled his blueline. Gone are John Marino and, surprisingly, Mike Matheson. Incoming are Jeff Petry and Ryan Poehling from the Montreal Canadiens. Young and struggling defenseman Ty Smith was Hextall’s steal from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Marino. Toronto is already wondering if Auston Matthews will “Gaudreau” them and bolt via free agency in two years. And Colorado is holding its breath, waiting for Nazem Kadri to decide.
This was the bold Ron Hextall.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The first Penguins trade was a nifty salary dump. John Marino and his $4.4 million to New Jersey for 2018 first-round pick Ty Smith, who had a rough go in his second year. Penguins trade story.
Smith has a top-shelf pedigree and had a very good rookie year before slumping last season. He’s a real get. Dave Molinari dug deeper to find out why the 22-year-old Smith was available on the NHL trade block.
Penguins Trade #2: Here’s the big one. The Penguins finally landed Jeff Petry, but it cost them Mike Matheson. The Montreal crew and I were going back and forth — I was convinced the Penguins needed a forward from Montreal instead of a right-side defenseman. Here are the full details of the Penguins trade haul.
Did they do well? Did Hextall win the trades? Here is the full breakdown and the one problem the trades created. And full Penguins trade analysis.
**Montreal Hockey Now: Here is the view from Montreal, which wasn’t as aware of Mike Matheson’s resurgence with the Penguins. A lot of Canadians fans weren’t thrilled, thinking they were getting the Florida version of Matheson. Boy, are they in for a surprise. Here’s the trade view from the Montreal Canadiens’ perspective.
Before Hextall went cowboy on us, Dave and I were working on other stories…the Penguins made other news first.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Welcome Owen Pickering to the family as the first-round pick signed his ELC with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Dave Molinari likes rivalries. Don’t we all? Johnny Gaudreau landed in the Metro. It’s about time. Penguins fans may have another team to hate.
NHL Trade Chatter, News, & National Hockey Now:
Montreal Hockey Now: The Canadiens swiped Kirby Dach from the imploding Chicago Blackhawks at the NHL draft, but could Dach be flipped for a better center? Montreal Canadiens trade rumors.
Sportsnet: Here are Sportsnet’s favorite “under the radar” free agent signings.
Also, Sportsnet Calgary teed off on Gaudreau. Columbus? Really?? Yeah, Canada isn’t happy.
Toronto Sun: Canadians wonder if Auston Matthews will do the same thing and bolt the great white north. Could Matthews leave Toronto via free agency in 2024?
Washington Hockey Now: The Capitals chased a pair of high-profile free agents but whiffed. The story of the Capitals UFA pursuits. Washington Capitals news.
Philly Hockey Now: The Flyers are crawling towards the tank like Nacho hiding from the Cartel (Better Call Saul reference). One player will finally get a chance to establish himself in the NHL: Former first-round pick Morgan Frost.
Detroit Hockey Now: The Red Wings won’t stink next year. No, seriously. In fact, they will have several position battles. Tea Detroit Red Wings excitement.
Colorado: Ok, what’s the deal with Nazem Kadri? A few teams are anxiously waiting for the agitating center with big point totals to make up his mind. Adrian Dater has the full breakdown, and he still thinks it is the Colorado Avalancheprobably.
Calgary: Lesson learned. The Flames are dealing with the loss of Gaudreau, but Steve Macfarlane wisely looked ahead. Lock-up Matthew Tkachuk!