It is probably the best week of summer if you're a hockey fan.
This week is the week of every hockey fan's fantasy.
It's time for the trading to begin and I, for one, am extremely excited.
After the year that ended with the Chicago Blackhawks, a team that was chosen at the beginning of the season to win, hoisting the cup, a lot of people are scratching their heads at the fact that the Hawks had to overcome a feisty Philadelphia Flyers team in six games to win.
If you're a Penguins fan, you hate the Flyers. Any person who says they like them, isn't a Penguins fan.
But I will give credit where credit is deserved. The Flyers overcame extreme adversity to get to the finals.
Mike Richards proved that he was meant to be captain and deserves the C after his attitude and demeanor throughout the entire playoffs.
Now i'm not picking the Flyers to return to the Finals next year. I don't know what they did to get to the Finals this year and my only idea is that they didn't play real hockey the entire year and when playoffs came, they had energy left.
Moving away from a season that I, as a Penguins fan, would like to not return to, I'm ready to see what teams are going to do now.
It's going to be a big season for the NHL in terms of keeping the increasing fan base interested.
We've already seen the addition of another Winter Classic added to the one already going on.
The Penguins vs the Flyers in the first regular season game ever at the Consol Energy Center.... excitement.
The Penguins vs the Capitals outside in Pittsburgh.... excitement.
But who will be playing in the black and gold for the Pens?
Will Gonch return to finish off his career with Pittsburgh? What about Billy Guerin, the crowd favorite who produced a good season at his age and hopes to finish his career in Pittsburgh?
This week is the week we find out who was the MVP of the year as well as many other things.
But what I want to know is what the big trade will be.
Chicago is now looking to return to the Finals next year but can't do that with $4 million in cap space that they can't have. They will become a desperate team this week to get the best deals they can before the July 1st deadline.
Look for Versteeg to be dealt as well as some defensemen like Sopel.
Sharp is one that has been brought up to move because of the fact that he'll want a raise and he'll deserve a raise. It comes down to: Who can Chicago get rid of? and, Will Sharp take a discount to remain with the club?
The Blackhawks remind me of the Penguin team. They are very close-knit and you don't hear any controversy come out of the locker room. They are a young team that just won the cup and will now be tested to be the next big dynasty.
Reminds you of a year ago when the media deemed that the Penguins would become a dynasty.
Of course there's still time for them to become a dynasty, but what they did off the ice is what makes the Pens special. And now it's time to see what the Blackhawks can do.
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jordan Staal are the three big names on the Penguins roster.
But the fact that all three of them took a lower salary in order to help the management find more players to fit the mold of the team is what makes them leaders.
Now fans are wondering if players such as Gonchar or Cooke will follow their leaders.
I only see Cooke returning in those two scenarios.
I can see a trade happening between the Blackhawks and the Penguins in the form of either Versteeg or Sharp.
I want Sharp, that's a given. But I'll take Versteeg and be just as happy.
They both fit what the Penguins are: fast, gritty, and young.
But who would we give them in return?
Here's my guess and what I think is a good deal for both teams:
For Versteeg, I would trade Goligoski.
We have Kris Letang who is ready to step into the shoes as a main defenseman on the powerplay and against top lines. The Pens need a winger more than anything and the Blackhawks would in return get a solid defenseman who is inexpensive at about $1.2 million for another three years.
For Sharp, it's a lot harder. The Blackhawks will want a lot for Sharp so Shero would have to be careful with what he gives up.
What about a second round pick or a prospect, and Goligoski?
The only reason why Chicago would have to trade Sharp is because of the cap space and Sharp will want a raise. If Pittsburgh cannot resign Gonchar, they'll take his $5 million in salary and put it to a winger.
Penguins need a scoring winger and a defenseman and this is who I want to be in a Pens jersey next year, including the free agents on the Pens team right now.
Bill Guerin— he deserves to finish his career in Pittsburgh
Matt Cooke— we need him
Mark Eaton— smart and reliable
Sharp/Versteeg— reasons above
Ray Whitney— veteran player with a scoring touch ready to come out
Colby Armstong— gritty player who is ready for a breakout season. Needs to be cheap though
Brent Sopel— takes the place of Jay McKee who will be leaving
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