You're probably just about as tired of reading a trade story involving the Pittsburgh Penguins as we are of writing them. But just about every single day, there's something new to talk about, thanks to Jim Rutherford's comments about making a major trade this season.
It's caused heavy speculation, leading people to wonder - who is untouchable on this team?
Sam Werner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the answer to this question - and while he states that Rutherford would listen on virtually everybody, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are essentially 99.9999% Penguins for life.
That being said, Werner categorizes the rest of the players according to likelihood of them getting traded, with 4 star players topping the list of unlikely, but possible with the right offer, at the right time.
This list includes Matt Murray, Phil Kessel, Kris Letang, and Jake Guentzel.
Murray surpassed Marc-Andre Fleury in the depth chart, with the two-time Cup champion being protected in the expansion draft over his counterpart. But with Tristan Jarry proving he's a legitimate NHL goalie, Rutherford finds himself in an interesting position where one of them will likely have to go, as it's a waste of an asset to keep two young goalies with starting ability.
That will likely force Rutherford to make a trade down the line, and while the more likely player to go is Jarry, Murray remains an option, if the price is right.
We reported on the possibility of a Kessel trade in the past, with it remaining an option to this day, although Werner believes that would be a trade that happens in the offseason, as the sniper is one of the most relied upon players for offense on this team.
Letang also could be had for the right price, although it's hard to imagine Rutherford gets good value on him now, as he is playing some of the worst hockey of his career after a long injury recovery process. GMs rarely trade when a player's value is low, especially when that player is one of the best in the league at his position.
Guentzel is an interesting name on this list - Werner classifies him as the most likely of the bunch to get traded, even if the likeliness of that happening is still low. He's on the second year of his three-year entry level deal, and will become an RFA following the expiration of the contract. For a player that has established himself as a clear top-line winger at such an early point in his career, and at such an affordable cap hit, he would be one of the hottest and most sought-after commodities on the team. As Werner says, it would take a massive haul to pry him out of Rutherford's hands - but again, if Rutherford is presented with an offer he can't refuse, he won't be afraid to swing for the fences.
That's a lot of star power on the trading block, no matter the chances of a deal transpiring. A trade for any one of these players would be of incredible magnitude.
As a fan of the Penguins - which player or players on this list would you be most okay with trading, and what kind of return would you expect?
As a fan of any other team - name your offers for any one of these players.