Jim Rutherford isn’t a fan of deadlines. The veteran GM has all but ignored the NHL’s trade deadline during his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, electing to get his wheeling and dealing done nice and early, often times weeks or a month ahead of the official deadline. Last season, Rutherford acquired veteran defenseman Ron Hainsey from the Carolina Hurricanes a week prior to the deadline. The season before he acquired Trevor Daley, Carl Hagelin and Justin Schultz all well before the deadline. This season, Rutherford already has four trades to his credit and we’re still roughly three weeks away from the February 26th trade deadline. But… does the wily GM have another trick up his sleeve?
In his latest 20 Penguins Thoughts article for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Penguins beat reporter Jason Mackey hypothesizes that the team could move one of Ian Cole, Brian Dumoulin or newcomer Andrey Pedan. You may remember that Pedan was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks for Derrick Pouliot in an early season trade, waaaaaaaay back in October.
Since then, the 24-year-old Lithuanian defender has put together an impressive season with the Wikes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL. In 39 games , the 6’5”, 215 pound giant has seven goals and 19 points, with 66 penalty minutes to boot.
WBS coach Clark Donatelli is a big fan of Pedan’s game and sees a future for the young player at the NHL level. “He can make plays,” said Donatelli to Mackey. “He’s a big guy. He’s mobile. He’s really come a long way in a short period of time. We’re real proud of him.”
Could he force someone out of the Pens lineup? Or be part of a trade package himself? Mackey seems to think so:
Defenseman Andrey Pedan is an interesting piece for the Penguins.
Watched him Friday in Wilkes-Barre. Kid’s a pretty decent skater, good enough to get by. Great size. Gets his shot through. Can fight. Isn’t afraid to hit.
And he’s been scoring. Got two goals Friday.
I don’t think he’s going to unseat, say, Brian Dumoulin anytime soon, but I think he could step in and play if given the opportunity. Or he could be a decent part of a trade.
The addition of Jamie Oleksiak from the Dallas Stars just prior to the Christmas break makes things interesting, as well. Is Rutherford up for some more lineup tinkering? Or, has he made all his moves?