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Rumor: Sheary trade clearing the way for blockbuster move?

GM Rutherford is reportedly not done dealing yet!

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In case you missed it, the Pittsburgh Penguins made a significant trade earlier today shipping forward Conor Sheary and defenseman Matt Hunwick to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a conditional 2019 4th round draft pick.

Sheary and Hunwick to Buffalo for 2019 4th that can become a 3rd.
Condition on draft pick. If Sheary scores 20 goals or 40 pts or Buf trades Hunwick before the '19 draft, it flips to a 3rd round pick.

The Penguins retained no salary in a deal that effectively ends up being a cash dump. By trading both Sheary and Hunwick, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford clears $5.5 million off his team’s salary cap for next season and now has approximately $10 million in cap space to spend this offseason on free agents.

But… what if Rutherford has something else in mind? Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner has been linked to the Penguins in multiple trade rumors and with $10 million now freed up, the Penguins could fit his $5.725 million salary under the cap handsomely.

Another option, according anonymous rumor monger Eklund, the Penguins could be clearing the decks to land Ottawa Senators superstar Erik Karlsson 

This trade definitely clears the way for Jeff Skinner to Penguins…UNLESS the Pens are looking bigger…Could Phil Kessel + be dealt to Ottawa for Erik Karlsson…Probably the best player the Sens could land for Karlsson

From Eklund himself:

One source has been saying for a long time now that he believed the Penguins would move Phil Kessel to the Sens for Karlsson, IF they could somehow clear another 5 Million in Cap space….Which they just did…

It goes without saying that Eklund’s rumors should be taken with a GIANT grain of salt. His track record of predicting these sorts of things is not great. However, it’s clear that Rutherford has some sort of plan up his sleeve. He's not the type to clear cap space without a plan on how to use it moving forward. Rumors continue to swirl around Phil Kessel in particular, but it remains to be seen what ends up happening between him and the team's coaching staff this offseason.The only question is… how long will be forced to wait until we find out what Rutherford's plan is?