2 Trade Targets For the Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins are once again the toast of the NHL. The team has rocketed to a 26-10-5 record in the season's first half, and once again coach Mike Sullivan has managed to squeeze every ounce of talent from his squad. Let's remember that the Penguins spent one month without captain Sidney Crosby, and three months without Evgeni Malkin, all while Covid ripped through their roster. Despite this, they've lost just two of their last 18 games. As we've learned over and over in the seasons since the last Cup win by Crosby and Co., you can never count the Penguins out. This season they look like Cup contenders once again, but President of Hockey Ops Brian Burke has said he wants to stop the Penguins' trend of trading away valuable assets at the deadline. However, there are some needs that the Pens have that could be addressed without selling away the future. Here are two players that could fill out the Pens' roster if brought in on a trade.

Mike Hoffman

The plans of the Montreal Canadiens have been flushed down the drain for this season. Following their Cinderella run to the Cup Finals last summer, the Habs have plummeted to the bottom of the league standings without the help of their top two leaders in Shea Weber and Carey Price. A future that once looked very bright for this patchwork team of young stars and legendary veterans has been sidelined for the moment, and any players that don't factor into Montreal's long-term plans will be a potential rental somewhere else. Mike Hoffman, who only just signed in Montreal last summer, fits that bill. He hasn't played bad hockey this year, 6 goals and 11 points in 25 games after missing the first month due to injury, but the Habs could use him to bolster their prospect cupboards going into a very strong 2022 Draft. Meanwhile, on Pittsburgh's end, the one area where the Pens continue to struggle is on the powerplay. They currently post a 17.6% powerplay success rate, good for 20th in the league. For a team battling for a President's Trophy, upgrading their special teams would go a long way towards improving their playoff potential. Hoffman is a powerplay specialist, it's where he's made his living in the NHL. Adding him to the mix would solve one of the few issues the Penguins have this season.

Marc-Andre Fleury

The only other concern in Pittsburgh is their backup goaltending. It's a shame to say, but 30-year old Casey DeSmith just hasn't been able to cut it at the NHL level. In 9 games played this season, he has a 3.58GAA and a .886sv%. It would be one thing to post those numbers on a team at the bottom of the standings, but doing so in Pittsburgh just puts a spotlight on their netminding concerns. A move for a reliable #2 goaltender is in the cards for the Pens this year, and who better to bring in than their former starter. Marc-Andre Fleury has been steadily chipping away at his stats this year after an abysmal start in Chicago. Last year's Vezina winner now posts a 2.79 GAA and .913sv%, very good numbers for a goalie who's only won 1 more game than he's lost. The Flower has one year left on his $7 million contract, and Chicago is nowhere near the playoff race. What better way for Fleury to wind down his exceptional career than a return to the team that made him a superstar? Once in the playoffs, the Pens are likely to start with Tristan Jarry for game 1 given his exceptional season thus far, but Jarry has struggled in the playoffs previously, and having the option to fall back on a talent like Fleury would go a long way to getting the Penguins out of the first round for the first time since 2018.

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