The Pittsburgh Penguins are out of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but after back to back Stanley Cup Championships and another relatively deep playoff run to follow that you couldn't blame the organization if they were happy with the way the last three years have gone. It seems that Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford however may never be satisfied with anything other than absolute victory.
The Penguins general manager made it clear at the end of the season that there would be changes made to the roster, but you can understand why the vast majority of fans have the expectation that the changes made will be relatively minor ones. That however may not be the case after all as there are now very big rumors regarding the future of the Penguins, and one of those rumors includes the potential acquisition of one of the NHL's top stars.
On Friday Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman was discussing the future of the Toronto Maple Leafs as well as the future of former Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello when he hinted at the possibility of a blockbuster trade from the Penguins. Friedman admits that he doesn't have a source giving him this information but even if it's just a hunch on his part he remains one of the NHL's top insiders and you have to imagine there is something motivating these comments.
"Nothing involving Lamoriello gets announced until he decides it does, but a move to the Islanders is the rumour that just won’t die," began Friedman during his 31 Thoughts column. "I do believe there have been talks and that it is a serious possibility. Assuming he does take over, that probably means a new pitch to keep John Tavares. The captain’s done a very good job of staying under the radar, keeping a lid on his future. Someone we do not expect is going to come out of nowhere to take a run at him. It’s purely a guess, but Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is the kind of guy I could see staying up at night figuring out how to do it."
That is an incredibly interesting possibility to say the least, and the timing of this speculation from Friedman has not gone without notice. It was just a day ago that reports leaked out of the Pittsburgh Penguins locker room regarding the discontent some had with the attitude of star forward Phil Kessel.
Would I trade Kessel? No. Do I think the Penguins will trade Kessel this summer? No. However, it’s worth noting that there does appear to be some friction with him right now. Sullivan went out of his way to publicly state that Kessel’s injury during the postseason wasn’t serious. It was a bizarre move by the coach and indicated that he’s not happy with Kessel. Coaches rarely like Kessel, so this isn’t anything shocking. He’s difficult. He’s a pain.
Could Kessel be on his way out to facilitate a move involving John Tavares? It's certainly one of the juicer rumors we've heard regarding the offseason thus far and it's one that could make the Penguins one of the most terrifying teams in recent memory.