The Pittsburgh Penguins' season is far from over, with nearly half the season left to go - but a very average season has them on the outside looking in. While they are only one point behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the final wildcard spot in the East, they have played 3 more games, giving Carolina the potential to be 7 points ahead when all is said and done.
They have two more games against that particular rival, and they can't lose them like they did the first 2 already.
That being said, Jim Rutherford has a huge task at hand, and that's always seemingly been to fill the 3rd line centre spot with someone new. While that remains the case, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman revealed that the Penguins' general manager has expanded his plans.
“They’re looking to do things — they’re trying to get some offence in there. There’s no question about that,” Friedman said on Sportsnet 650.
“I think they’ve had some interest in Evander Kane. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re interested in (Max) Pacioretty. They’re looking. I think if they could, they’d add a winger and a centre.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they could do both.”
There's a very realistic chance one of those two players ends up in Pittsburgh before the trade deadline, but as they are both wingers, we're left to speculate who they could be targeting at centre. There were talks of bringing back Matt Cullen, but he probably wouldn't be the ideal 3C, and Riley Sheahan has slotted in well on the 4th line, effectively removing that as an option should Cullen be reacquired.
It's nearly impossible to speculate who Rutherford could be targeting, as there aren't really any centres out there publicly available at the moment. Perhaps Jean-Gabriel Pageau from the Ottawa Senators. That would be the best guess we have.
Regardless - the plan was always to acquire a centre, but now it appears acquiring a winger has become a priority as well.