The Pittsburgh Penguins' forward lines suffered a serious blow when veteran winger Pascal Dupuis was sidelined for six months with a blood clot in one of his lungs. It didn't take long for rumors to surface over how they'll address Dupuis' absence.
USA Today's Kevin Allen believes the Penguins have trade options to pursue. Among them are Buffalo Sabres wingers Drew Stafford and Chris Stewart, who are both eligible for unrestricted free agency in July, and Edmonton Oilers right wing Nail Yakupov.
Allen doubts if Stafford and Stewarts are the type of players Penguins GM Jim Rutherford covets. Yakupov, meanwhile, has yet to reach his projected potential as a scoring winger. Allen believes the Penguins could have interest in Yakupov's teammate Jordan Eberle but questions if the Oilers would part with him.
TSN's Bob McKenzie reports the Penguins were already in the market for a top-six winger prior to Dupuis' illness. He claims they already looked at Stafford and Stewart but “didn't go down that road.”
Allen and McKenzie agree Rutherford is likely to draw upon his depth in promising young defensemen (Scott Harrington, Brian Dumoulin, Philip Samuelsson and Derrick Pouliot) as trade bait. Teams which also need blueline help include the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars, though they could be in the market for veteran help rather than young rearguards.
Rutherford isn't likely to rush into making a deal, especially if his club keeps playing well. His preference could be to wait until the March 2 trade deadline approaches, when there could be better options available.
The Penguins aren't the only club which could shop an extra defenseman. Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen reports the Senators will have a decision to make with Marc Methot and Patrick Wiercioch once Methot returns from injury.
SHARKS CIRCLING TRADE MARKET
With only four victories in November, the San Jose Sharks' recent struggles is generating speculation of in-season changes.
TSN's Pierre LeBrun reports their current homestand could prove crucial, suggesting trades could be in the offering if their inconsistency continues. He speculates forwards Tyler Kennedy and Adam Burish could be moved, as well as goalie Antti Niemi, who's an unrestricted free agent next summer.
LeBrun feels they'll continue the process of getting younger which began last summer. He also speculates over the future of coach Todd McLellan, prompting colleague Bob McKenzie to state there would be considerable interest in McLellan if he became available in-season.
Moving Kennedy and Burish would be minor deals. The Sharks won't trade Niemi until Alex Stalock returns from minor knee surgery and has a few games under his belt.
Early-season inconsistency has generated speculation over McLellan's future before. If the Sharks regain their footing and string some wins together by mid-season, management won't consider any shake-ups behind the bench.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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