Every NHL fan knew that the expansion draft was going to be bittersweet. Sure, it’s fun to watch a new team come into fruition. However, it’s equally sad to see a player leave their team for good. In the case of Pittsburgh Penguins fans everywhere, it was near depressing to see Brandon Tanev come out onto the stage sporting the Seattle Kraken jersey. So now that he is gone, how will the penguins replace him?
First Option: Trade
Although Tanev was only in Pittsburgh for two years, they style of play that he brought was something the Penguins were lacking. He was practically a wrecking ball on the ice. He would hit anything wearing the opposition’s logo, and it was flat-out entertaining. Even his personality off the ice was infectious as he was just an overall good person. That’s why the Penguins need another guy to fill that role, and trading for a player could do just that.
Seeing as the Penguins lack physicality, bringing in someone would fill that role nicely. There’s one target that is realistic for Pittsburgh, and then one that would be costly to acquire but would pay off in the long run. Nicolas Deslauriers from the Anaheim Ducks is a solid tough guy that has a play style very similar to Tanev. He is very physical and isn’t afraid to get in the dirty areas on the ice. However, the asking price for him at this time is a first round draft pick, which may be too costly. That being said, there is another target.
Matthew Tkachuk would be an invaluable acquisition, although extremely unlikely. He also has a similar play style that Tanev has, but Tkachuk can put up solid points. Would the Calgary Flames be willing to part with him? They’ve already been hearing offers, but so far no offer has been enticing enough to pull the trigger. They would want quite a few draft picks and a number of NHL caliber players, but acquiring him would be worth it.
Second Option: Prospects
This second option seems a lot more likely. The Penguins will likely forgo the physicality factor that Tanev brought, and will likely only focus on offensive power. Allowing one of their top prospects to come into the lineup and get some NHL time seems the most likely route that they will go. There’s one prospect in particular that will likely get the nod, and fans will be excited to see him.
Samuel Poulin will likely make his NHL appearance in the upcoming season. The kid will be spectacular. He has put up pretty fantastic numbers during his time in the QMJHL as he has been over a point per game since being drafted. Poulin seems to favor setting up teammates as a playmaker, so he’d fit in well on the third line with Jeff Carter.
It was beyond sad seeing Tanev go to the Kraken, but fans know that he will have a bright future. For now, they can only look to management to improve the team. They could trade for another physical guy, or they could allow one of their prospects like Poulin to come in the lineup and get some NHL time. It’ll be interesting to see what the lineup will look like at the season opener.
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