Shelly Anderson: I see your points, but upon examination I would doubt this will happen. Ryan Malone was a favorite here, raised in Upper St. Clair and a big body who was physical, could score and would go to the net. But he's been gone for four years, is 31, has been dealing with injuries. He also has a no-movement clause on a contract that has a cap hit of $4.5 million through 2014-15. Dustin Brown might be more attractive – he's 27, can score and has a $3.175 million cap hit through 2013-14. But not only would the Penguins likely have to part with quite a bit to get him, but they also don't have that room under the cap unless they unload a couple of million. I have a hard time seeing the Penguins part with Simon Despres. All that said, no one saw the Penguins getting Marian Hossa in 2009 until Ray Shero heard something he liked literally right at the deadline.
Gayts: Any chance unloading Tyler Kennedy and Ben Lovejoy for a big, physical defenseman?
Shelly Anderson: The key to your question is the word "unloading." Any general manager who senses another wanting to unload players is in a position to ask for more than his player is worth. Another shutdown defenseman wouldn't hurt, as long as he can skate and move the puck well enough to work in this system, but those guys are rarely available and cost a lot.
The Wreckless yachtsman: Is anyone going to Land Rick Nash?
Shelly Anderson: According to some on Twitter, there is a frantic push on. Don't forget, he's got leverage to OK a deal. If he's not traded, do you guys think this will be something of a bust as a trade deadline day?
david: Would be shocked if the Penguins were sellers this time? It would be nice to pick up some draft picks.
Shelly Anderson: The Penguins most definitely aren't sellers. In fact Ray Shero told me yesterday he feels fortunate that the Penguins have not been sellers in his time here. Draft picks would be nice, especially with the draft here in June, but only if the cost is nominal, as in no one who is playing regularly at the NHL level.
david: As far as trading Tangradi goes, the Penguins have a history of trading big guys too early. Kevan Mcclelland and Glenn Murray come to mind.
Shelly Anderson: Ray Shero isn't responsible for that, and the Penguins now have the luxury of spending up to the salary cap and so don't have to dump guys who are going to become too expensive. That said, Eric Tangradi has been playing fairly well in a fourth-line role -- physical, cycling the puck well -- and is just 23, so it might well be, as you termed it, too early to give up on him.
The Wreckless yachtsman: I get the impression from the penguins front office that they are expecting Crosby to return in the regular season. Since they can't be sure wouldn't it make sense to put him on LTI and try to land Nash? The goal of the team should be to win the Cup.
Shelly Anderson: And then what after this season? The Penguins would be millions over the cap, and Nash has a long-term contract. Then again, maybe not, considering they probably would have to part with a huge name or two to get Nash. It just doesn't seem feasible unless Shero is willing to make some wholesale changes to the core of his team.
Tommy2: Will we see more of Thiessen?
Shelly Anderson: Good question. The Penguins, who were off today, don't play until Wednesday and don't have back-to-back games for a few weeks. Brad Thiessen could back up Marc-Andre Fleury until Brent Johnson recovers from his undisclosed injury. At the very least, you would think Thiessen will be a top candidate to the main backup next season.
tom: Seems like Crosby is progressing verrrry slooooowly. Do they think he'll be back by the time the first round starts?
Shelly Anderson: The Penguins are hopeful, but they aren't putting pressure on Sidney Crosby. Better to make sure he's fully healthy. And at least he is progressing, as far as we can tell and based on his most recent public comments.
SS: On Tangradi - The fans seemed to be concerned when we traded our "best" prospects - Welch, Caputi, and Esposito - but none of these have turned into stars. What could Tangradi realistically bring?
Shelly Anderson: Perhaps Ray Shero had a keen eye when he traded those players, or he was really lucky (he said before the Luca Caputi trade that he wanted to hang on to him). Eric Tangradi is potentially a solid power forward who can be another, say, Ryan Malone but younger. That sounds like a good prospect to me.
paul: Will they go with Thiessen as their backup in the playoffs?
Shelly Anderson: Doubt it, unless Brent Johnson isn't healthy. But backups rarely get into playoff games.
The Wreckless yachtsman: I look forward to the deadline all year, and it looks like this will be one of the most quiet in recent years. Is there any reason to that?
Shelly Anderson: Yes. So few teams are completely out of the playoff or seedings chase that there are a lot more buyers than sellers, so prices are high for the few players available and a lot of GMs are happy to stick with what they've got.
paul: They seem to be playing better defensively lately. Do you think that's due to the new pairings?
Shelly Anderson: The new pairings -- essentially splitting Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek -- seem to be working well, although there were some lapses Saturday despite it being such a lopsided game. Playing in front of Thiessen, they were pretty tight.
Mario: I, for one, am not against Crosby being shut down for the remainder of the year. I want to see him play when he's 26 and 27, and am willing to wait for it. For this year, the Penguins need to be prepared to compete and win without him, including in the playoffs. Assuming he doesn't return, that means their biggest concerns in the post-season will probably be whether they get sufficient supplemental scoring behind the Firing Line, and whether Martin and Michalek justify Shero's faith (and dollars) in them sufficiently enough to help Pittsburgh try and shut down their opponents' offense. What say you Shelly?
Shelly Anderson: The Penguins probably won't shut down Crosby, but neither will they put any pressure on him to come back, whether it's this regular season or the playoffs or beyond. They, like you, want him to be healthy for years to come. He wants that, too. As for the offseason, aren't scoring help (particularly wingers) and shutdown defense always at the top of the list?
Tommy2: Has Paul Martin picked it up a bit recently, or is that a figment of my imagination?
Shelly Anderson: Paul Martin has been playing better. He is not a bad player, but he has been having a fairly unmemorable season. We'll see if he has weathered that storm.
David: If we do trade Tangradi, I would hope that it was for someone with potential and not just a rental. As far as trading for a veteran, a tough shut down type would be nice, but might be terribly expensive.
Shelly Anderson: Agreed.
The Wreckless yachtsman: Is there any conformation that the Pens are ready to call it a day on the deadline?
Shelly Anderson: No, and trades made in the final minutes sometimes don't go public until a little after the 3 p.m. deadline, so keep your ears open. But don't be shocked if little or nothing comes down.
Freddie: Do you think the Pens will eventually "bury" Paul Martin in the minors..with the likes of Marrow, Despres waiting in the wings? Since no one in their right mind take on Martin's contract
Shelly Anderson: If you read the above response, you'll see I see a lot more talent with Martin than you do. But, no, I don't expect the Penguins to pay him $5 million to play in the American Hockey League.
The Wreckless yachtsman: When Sid comes back do you see Jordan Staal as one of his wingers? I think Jordan has proven this year that he can finish and I think he would see a jump in production on a line with Sid and Dupuis. The wrecklass yachtsman awaits your answer....
Shelly Anderson: That's a possibility, I suppose, but Dan Bylsma hasn't been willing to address that. You don't want to break up the Malkin line. Let's see what the situation is when Crosby comes back (when it is, injuries, etc.), but Staal would be a big body who is developing into a really strong two-way player. He and Crosby could be lethal together if the Penguins are happy with what they would have remaining for the third and fourth lines.
Shelly Anderson: OK, folks. Don't forget, hang in there for a bit to see if the Penguins made any last-minute moves. And please join us again next week with more good questions.
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