You know what they say: keep your friends close, your enemies closer. As New York Rangers fans, that means keeping tabs on the Pittsburgh Penguins. With that said, here’s your daily dose (read: briefing) for Wednesday.
Penguins Trade Sutter, Add Depth – THN
Yesterday, the Penguins traded Brandon Sutter and a third-round pick in the 2016 draft to the Vancouver Canucks for Nick Bonino, Adam Clendening and a 2016 second-round pick. The Pens also signed Eric Fehr for three years at $2 million per.
This gives the Pens some much needed depth, both on offense and behind the blue line. GM Jim Rutherford told THN that both moves went hand in hand: “We really like Nick as a center…By doing this, it opened up cap space so we could add more depth to our forwards, like adding Eric Fehr, [who’s] coming off of a very good year and is a player we’ve liked for quite some time.”
Bonino, center, added 15 goals and 24 assists in 75 games with the Canucks last year. The 27-year-old finished the season with a pretty good +7 plus/minus.
Fehr picked up 19 goals and 14 apples at right wing with the Washington Capitals, ending the 2015-16 season with an admirable +8 plus/minus.
New York Rangers
Both Bonino and Fehr are clearly good players, but Clendening could be a sleeper.
The 22-year-old defenseman spent his time between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Canucks organizations last season, logging one goal and three assists in 21 NHL games, total. He also tallied two goals and 16 assists in 49 AHL games.
Those stats don’t seem like anything to shake a hockey stick at, but his full 2013-14 season with the AHL Rockford Hogs say otherwise: 12 goals and 59 points in 74 games. Once Clendening gets settled into the Pittsburgh organization, there’s no doubt that he’ll add depth to their defense.
The Penguins may not stop there though. By divine intervention, there is still $2.8 million in Pittsburgh’s cap space to add more depth.
THN suggests all of this could put the Penguins “in a position to take a serious shot at the Stanley Cup in 2015-16,” and I have to agree. It’s not just Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin anymore. It’s Sid, Malkin and Toronto’s (former) best player, Phil Kessel, along with a more solid bottom-six now. It’s a little bit scary.
Should the New York Rangers be worried? Maybe not a lot, not at this point anyway. But to some small degree? Oh, absolutely.
The Rangers took care of Round One business in just five games against the Pens in the Playoffs. However, this new and improved Pittsburgh roster has the potential to be something big this season, big enough to be a real threat to the Rangers’ third try at the Cup.
If they can manage to keep Kessel in line and bring out the best in Fehr, the Penguins could cause a lot of trouble in the Metropolitan Division, especially for the Rangers. Whatever happens, we’ll be keeping a close watch.
And that’s all for your daily dose. See you again soon.
More from Blue Line Station
- Blake Wheeler’s Broadway Calling: Why He Chose the Rangers
- Rangers’ Playoff Redemption Recipe: Grit and Fresh Hopes
- Rangers’ Roster Chatter: Who’s Making the Cut and Who’s in the Penalty Box?
- Jacque Plante Trade Tree Between the Rangers and Canadiens
- These Rangers must learn Peter Laviolette’s ropes before they can fly