The Pittsburgh Penguins made a few splashes during free agency. They acquired the likes of Brock McGinn, Dominik Simon, Filip Lindberg and more depth pieces. One of the more vital areas where there needs to be a change is the goaltending. Sure, they signed a young goalie in Lindberg, but they truly need a veteran for a few reasons.
Why Do They Need One?
Veteran goalies have always been important to any team. They can be just the last and perfect ingredient needed for a Stanley Cup victory. First off, they know all about the playoffs and how they have to be on top of their game. Secondly, and most importantly, they can mentor the younger guys. In doing so, the younger guys are instilled with the knowledge and advice of goalies past, meaning they will likely have a higher chance of performing better.
In the recent past of the Penguins, the case of Matt Murray was obviously influenced by a veteran presence. Murray had the future hall-of-famer Marc-Andre Fleury to mentor him. Murray knew what he had to do and how he had to perform. Because of Fleury’s mentoring, Murray overperformed in the 2016 and 2017 playoffs and was one of the main reasons Pittsburgh secured back-to-back Stanley Cup victories.
Now, look at the case of Jarry. He has never truly had a mentor. The closest person he had a mentor was Murray, and even then he had just been taught from Fleury. When Jarry struggled in the playoffs both last year and the year before, nobody was there to correct him. That being said, the Penguins need to acquire a veteran goalie for the sake of the team. Who should the Penguins target in a trade?
The One And Only Fleury
To say that Fleury has had a tumultuous few months is an understatement. He had played an astounding season and incredible postseason for the Vegas Golden Knights last year. In fact, he had just won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender. So, naturally, Vegas traded him to the Chicago Blackhawks for basically a bag of peanuts. What’s even more interesting is that Fleury recently expressed his interest in coming back to Pittsburgh. The question is what will it take to reacquire him?
Due to Fleury’s contract, Pittsburgh will surely have to trade away a player making beaucoup bucks. Likely trade candidates are the players who’ve been the topic of rumors for weeks, if not months. These players include Jason Zucker and Marcus Pettersson. Even then, Chicago will have to retain some of Fleury’s massive salary. Either that, or the Penguins wait until free agency of next year and hopefully snag him for a discounted price.
This one is a bit out of left field, but would make a ton of sense. Anton Khudobin is very experienced as an NHL goaltender as he started in 2009 and became a regular in the 2013-2014 season. Why this makes even more sense is the Dallas Stars’ goaltending situation. They have Ben Bishop, another rising goalie in Jake Oettinger and they just signed veteran Braden Holtby. They have a surplus of goalie talent, and offloading one of them for assets would benefit them.
Ideally, Khudobin wouldn’t come at too much of a cost. It’s also hard to say what the Stars would like in return as they have a fairly balanced team with no obvious weak links. Nevertheless, some draft picks could secure Khudobin for the Penguins. If a trade like this went down, it wouldn’t take much as a fourth and a fifth round pick in the 2022 entry draft would likely do. At the absolute most, maybe next year’s second rounder. Either way, the Penguins need a veteran presence in the crease and Khudobin could provide that.
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