The Pittsburgh Penguins executed two trades this week prior to the holiday roster freeze. They acquired goalie Michael Leighton and hulking defenseman Jamie Oleksiak.
While Leighton will provide a veteran presence in the backup goalie position behind Matt Murray, Oleksiak is a project acquisition that will hopefully live up to his potential on his new team, after being drafted at 14th overall by the Dallas Stars in 2011.
Elliotte Friedman revealed on his "31 thoughts" segment this week that according to a few NHL executives, these two trades were the "tip of the iceberg" for Jim Rutherford. Therefore, we can expect the Pens' general manager to make a much bigger move prior to the trade deadline in February.
And when we say bigger, we don't mean bigger than Jamie Oleksiak, who stands at 6'7" without skates.
Talks have been rampant surrounding this team for about a month now, and Rutherford has never shied away from making the move or moves that could bring the team over the top.
Pittsburgh is currently sitting outside of the playoffs right now, competing in the toughest division in hockey. Ian Cole is the likeliest roster player to be moved in a bigger deal, but one should expect Pittsburgh to use their futures (picks and prospects) to make a bigger splash.
TSN's "trade bait" board lists Evander Kane, Alex Galchenyuk, James Neal, Mike Green, Rick Nash, Alec Martinez, and David Perron among others. These are all big names that have been talked about quite a bit, some more than others. Regardless, if Rutherford wants to act, these are some of the key names that will fall under the "major trade" category.
And by the sounds of it, he's preparing for a massive deal within the next couple of months.