Valentine’s Day Link Dump

Here is a special Link Dump because there is a ton of hockey stuff going around and in some way it should all be tangentially related to the Penguins so we think it’s important to talk about.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have a new GM. They fired their old GM, Scott Howson, on Tuesday and yesterday they announced that they had come to terms with Jarmo Kekalainen. As you can read in the article above, Kekalainen is the first European GM in league history and he worked with new BJ’s team president John Davidson to help craft one of the best young franchises in the NHL, the St. Louis Blues.

RJ_Umberger

Of course anytime we talk about the Blue Jackets it will be to talk about RJ Umberger, and we can’t help but wonder how his availability could change with a new GM in town. You have to expect that Kekalainen would be interested in more or less cleaning house, and now that Nash is gone Umberger is the most expensive piece of the Blue Jackets puzzle. There’s nothing not to like about Umberger, he’s a natural winger (unlike one of the guys I wouldn’t mind seeing join the Pens), he’s a perennial 20 goal scorer, he’s big (6’2” 220 lbs), he plays with grit, he’s a leader, his $4.6 annual cap hit is reasonable, and just in time to fill the void created by Dylan Reese going back to the minors, HE’S A PITTSBURGH NATIVE, because that’s the only thing that matters if you’re Root Sports.

No idea what the value for Umberger would be, but given that the BJ’s got 2 NHlers, a can’t miss prospect, and a first round pick, I should think that one NHLer (TK), a can’t miss prospect (I’d even give up Morrow) and a first round pick should get the job done.

In a very, very quiet move the Pens moved the Big Dawg Eric Tangradi to the Winnipeg Jets for a 7th round pick in this year’s draft. We honestly wish nothing but the best for the Big Dawg, but this move is entirely indicative of how far his status has fallen in the Pens organization. Whatever, he was going to be a free agent this year anyway, and we doubt the Penguins would have brought him back for another year. As such the Pens get something for nothing and the Pens are ever so slightly clearing up more cap space.

The Big Dawg

The Big Dawg

Apparently Winnipeg must really think favorably of Big Dawg because they then turned around and traded away the proven commodity Alexei Ponikarovsky to the Devils for a pair of draft picks. The Devils needed help because Dainius Zubrus got hurt, and Ponikarovsky played well for the Devils last year, but this is probably why all of the following no longer play for the Thrashers/Jets organization: Ilya Kovalchuk, Marian Hossa, Dany Heatley, Marc Savard, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz. Just read the title of that article if you don’t think the Jets are determined to make things work with Big Dawg.

Conveniently the Pens will be in Winnipeg for a game on Friday, I wonder if they’re flying out together?

It wouldn’t be fair to call either of these a rumor per say, but there are people out there talking along the same lines that Mike and I are talking: for me, assuming that Umberger is the most coveted player at this year’s deadline (his reasonable cap hit, 4 years of contract left, etc) and thus too expensive, Mike and I have each identified one player who could fit the mold in Pittsburgh.

Mike is on board with Jarome Iginla. He’s backed by John Buccigross, who despite working for ESPN is one of the best in the business. Iginla sounds like a solid choice, but my fear is that his age, his skating, and his waning productivity make him good in a rental situation, but not for the long run.

Bucci on Iginla

As such I am on board with Ryan O’Reilly, he’s only 22, has consistently produced 50 points a year, and we already know that the Avs have no plans to bring him back this offseason. Darren Dreger has my back on this:

DD on RO'R

if true he could be had relatively cheaply, probably cheaper than Iginla, and could end up playing a decade or more in Pittsburgh.

Of course our strategies are currently getting depressed a little bit because the Pens officially recalled Beau Bennett earlier today. Don’t get me wrong, we’re stoked on it. If you haven’t heard the story yet, Bennett came to town yesterday to get checked out by the Big Pens’ doctors. He had been hurt, and had returned to the lineup in Wilkes Barre, but the Pens needed to make sure that their top prospect was really healthy and I guess the medical situation in Wilkes Barre isn’t what it is in Pittsburgh so he came in for a day. While here all the journos started asking Shero if Bennett was here to stay, Shero was incredibly non-committal on the whole thing. After the Pens traded Tangradi it seemed more likely to happen, but today it became official. Take a wild guess where he’s going to play?

Ultra strong Twitter feed from Mike Colligan seems to suggest that the Pens are bummed with TK’s game this year. I should think this would end any questions about who the first NHL player to get traded will be. Check him out, he is literally the best in the biz.

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One Comment on “Valentine’s Day Link Dump”

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