The Pittsburgh Penguins sit outside the playoff race - two point behind both the Rangers and Islanders for a wild card spot, and four points behind both the Devils and Blue Jackets for a divisional spot.
Each team holds a game or two in hand on the Penguins.
As we know, Jim Rutherford floated the possibility of making a major trade last week if his team doesn't right the ship soon. Losers of 4 out of their last 5 before beating the lowly Arizona Coyotes, things haven't exactly turned around since the controversial declaration by the GM.
The 4-2 win against the Coyotes was relatively convincing, but when you consider they are sitting on 7 wins in 35 games, they are hardly the team to measure one's success against.
That being said, Sportsnet reporter Sonny Sachdeva outlined 5 realistic trade partners for the Penguins, and how they could help the team moving forward.
First on the list is the Vegas Golden Knights - they have a couple centers in Erik Haula and Cody Eakin that would be upgrades over Riley Sheahan as the team's 3rd line center. That's a role that has been in need of being filled with the loss of Nick Bonino to free agency, and one of those two pivots would be an upgrade over Sheahan.
Ian Cole would be the primary trade piece there, as he is well-known to be on the market.
Second up are the Toronto Maple Leafs. Their third line center in Tyler Bozak has been on a down year, and a change of scenery may be just what the doctor ordered. Pittsburgh would love to have him according to multiple reports, so maybe there's a fit there. Could there be a package involving Carl Hagelin, a speedy winger who is also in need of a change?
The Ottawa Senators are a logical option as they are taking calls on every single one of their players. Derick Brassard and Jean-Gabriel Pageau are great options that could fit the third line role admirably. They wouldn't be cheap acquisitions, Brassard especially, but Rutherford has a knack for swinging big deals.
The Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild are the last options, with the Avs looking for a new home for Carl Soderberg, and the Wild owning a piece of the Penguins' two-time Stanley Cup-winning roster in Matt Cullen.
Cullen is a player they would sorely love back, and beat reporters such as Jason Mackey and Josh Yohe believe he could realistically be re-acquired. However, he was an effective 4th line center behind Bonino, and so if they were to get him back, he'd be one of multiple moves made to fix the roster.
Lots of options here. If you're reading this as a fan of another team, do you have an alternative trade proposition for Jim Rutherford? Sound off in the comments.