Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford claims that he has all the players he needs to start the season. The Penguins are still in need of a top-6 forward and the most logical and cap friendly way to obtain one would be trading a defenseman. One defenseman’s name that is still being tossed around as possible trade bait is Kris Letang, but if the Penguins trade Letang, they are endangering the strength of their defense.
Letang has a bad history with the injury bug and he has even had a stroke. But when Letang is healthy, he plays like a Norris trophy candidate. Trading Letang would free up salary cap space, but instead of trading the Penguins’ best defenseman, management should look into trading Paul Martin or Rob Scuderi.
Rutherford has already stated that he would like to keep Martin around for the upcoming season, but the 33-year-old defenseman is becoming an unrestricted free agent next year and he will most likely want to find a team that he can sign a long term deal with. Due to salary cap restraints, the Penguins won’t be that team. Trading Martin while he is still under contract with the Penguins rather than letting him go through free agency would be one of the better options for the team.
As for Scuderi, he is being paid $3,375,000 a year to do virtually nothing. Of course no team would be willing to trade a top-6 forward for Scuderi alone, so the Penguins could look into possibly packaging Scuderi with one of the Penguins’ less vital forwards. After all, there’s no shortage of talent on Wilkes-Barre Scranton that the Penguins could call up.
Martin may have more experience in the NHL than Letang, but Letang is still one of the more experienced defensemen on the team. The Penguins have trading options, but trading their most creative blueliner should not be considered.