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Rumor: Penguins linked with Jets in trade talks

Would be very surprised if this happened.

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A name we haven't been hearing on the trade market is that of Olli Maatta, arguably the Pittsburgh Penguins' best defenseman this year.

Yet, on a podcast hosted by Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek of Sportsnet, entitled "31 Thoughts Podcast", it was revealed that the name has come up in talks with the Winnipeg Jets.

"I think Olli Maatta --" Marek began.

"He's been out there before," Friedman interrupted.

" -- that's been out there for awhile. There was once something between Pittsburgh and Winnipeg, and his name popped up," Marek finished.

Now, perhaps this popped up earlier in the season, but Friedman, one of the league's most respected insiders, did not deny that this info is true. The Jets are probably less giddy for a defenseman right now, and it's hard to see Penguins' general manager Jim Rutherford giving up Maatta right now.

To do so, he'd almost certainly have to keep Ian Cole, who's been on the trade market for the bulk of the season. Rutherford could look at this in the sense that the Penguins won the Cup last year with a pretty average defense, and could feasibly land a very promising forward from the Winnipeg  Jets, who are stacked in that position.

That being said, it's hard to envision the Jets making that trade this season, which wouldn't make them the most ideal trade partner, as what Rutherford needs most is a forward to slot in the third centre position. Jake Guentzel has been playing that position right now, and playing pretty well as of late, but he'd be better suited on Sidney Crosby's wing. 

One thing to note with the Jets, is that they could perhaps trade Dustin Byfuglien. Friedman and Marek discussed the topic, mentioning that while he was injured this season, they won handily without him, and so he could be feasibly be a trade chip for other pieces, with a different team. Maybe Maatta is a replacement. Just connecting some dots here.

Friedman believes it's a risky proposition, as Jacob Trouba's future in Winnipeg is uncertain, and if you lose Byfuglien, then Trouba, you have a problem. Enter Maatta. The issue becomes the fact that Maatta is a left shot, while Byfuglien and Trouba are right shots.

Just thinking out loud. The Jets and Penguins have reportedly had talks, we'll be curious to see if anything transpires out of that.