Harrison Leipold – Penguins Trades Blog


Though the Pittsburgh Penguins did not actually make any moves this year on the last day of the NHL trade deadline, February 28, they were still very active in a couple trades leading up to that day.  Exactly one week prior to the deadline, the Penguins made a splash as they traded twenty-five year old defensemen Alex Goligoski for twenty-four year old defensemen Matt Niskanen and twenty-three year old forward James Neal.  This trade of young budding stars seems based as much on future potential as on what each team is getting now, but Penguins General Manager Ray Shero filled a huge void at forward with the currently depleted Penguins lineup.  Neal has stepped into a major role right away with the absence of offensive weapons Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, and Aaron Asham.  With 22 goals already this season, in only his third year in the NHL, Neal seems destined to become a scoring star for the Penguins, especially when guys like Sidney Crosby get back on the ice to play with him.  Niskanen will not be one to put the puck in the net, but should be a suitable defensive replacement for Goligoski.

Three days later, on Thursday, February 24, Ray Shero found a way to bring former Penguin great Alexi Kovalev back home to Pittsburgh.  Though now 38, Kovy still has had a decent amount of offensive production for the Ottawa Senators this year with 14 goals and 27 total points.  It was a low risk move for Shero because all that was given up was a seventh round pick in next year’s draft.  Hopefully the man who scored 149 goals as a superstar for the Penguins from 1998-2003 will be reenergized by his return to the Steel City and will provide a high reward.

Though the Penguins did not make a ton of moves at this year’s trading deadline, the ones that they did make were very low risk and smart.  James Neal and Matt Niskanen should be part of this young team for years to come, and hopefully Alexi Kovalev can end his long and storied career with a Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh that he came just short of his first time in a Penguins uniform.  That being said, the biggest key to the Penguins Stanley Cup chances this season is someone who has been on the roster all along.  The Penguins will go as far as Sidney Crosby takes them, as long as he returns to the ice this season.