Last night, the Pittsburgh Penguins signed forward Derek Grant to a one-year contract, and while it appeared to be a less significant signing for the Pens, it seems now that it may be causing quite a logjam at center.
According to Jonathan Bombulie of TribLive, the addition of Grant means one thing: the Pens "will have bona fide NHL centers coming out their ears" on opening day of camp.
“Of the 15 forwards who could conceivably be on the team’s opening night roster, six – Crosby, Malkin, Grant, Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan and Matt Cullen – list center as their primary position.”
While Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has explained that some of those centers, such as Grant, Cullen and Sheahan, can also play on the wing, it seems more and more likely that this latest signing will push another player on the trade block this summer.
The Penguins have been focusing on getting more options down the middle, and while this has clearly been address, they might turn their attention to the left wing. With Grant in the books now, Bombulie suggests a trade is a possibility, not only to rid the team from some centres but also to try and bring in a scoring left winger.
There are of course the untouchables in Crosby and Malkin, however, Bombulie believes Brassard could fetch the best return, especially on the wing. However, if the Penguins cannot manage to find the return they are looking for before the start of the upcoming season, Brassard could be able to address that need if they try him at that left wing position.
Of course, the signing of Grant is making it easier on head coach Mike Sullivan to get more flexibility down the middle. However, it might be to stock up on centres in order to give Rutherford depth at a position that other teams lack. Therefore, later in the season, the Penguins could become very popular among clubs in need of centers with depth in wingers.
So, what will it be? A move in the coming weeks or will the Penguins wait to get more popular on the market? However, Brassard at the moment appears to be the player to bring in the best return, so the poor guy might find himself with a third team in less than eight months...