As a Penguins fan this year we all know that we are missing two big names on our blue line; those being Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney. However, we also know that the Penguins have had some young guys step their games up, and helped the Penguins keep their Eastern Conference street credit.
What happens though when Gonchar and Whitney come back though? The Penguins will then be left with eight defensemen for only six spots. On top of this none of these eight deserve to be sent back down to the minors to play when they all have earned a spot on the roster.
This then leads to which two defensemen come the trade deadline are going to be wearing different jerseys?
I am going to give you my insight on who I think the Penguins will get rid of as well as why I think that they should be traded. First though lets get a list of the all the defensemen, including those that will be back most likely by the trade deadline.
Looking at that list it is hard to pick two guys that in most likelihood will be traded by the end of the year.
However let us start by first choosing four that we know the Penguins will not get rid of:
Too much of an offensive defenseman, and a good power-play point man. Also still very young and has tons of room to get better.
Talk about getting a name for yourself. Goligoski has great hands on the point, and can open up shooting lanes because of this. Again another young defensemen that the Pens can not let go.
Veteran player. He has been injured all year, but he is expected to come back sometime around the end of January beginning of February. This will give him enough time to get back into the swing of things, and be playoff ready.
"The Shift"...enough said. Orpik should be wearing an "A" for his hard work, and his presence on the ice is impeccable. He is the rock that holds that corp together. Also the big contract extension he signed is a key indicator too.
So those are the four that I believe to be lock-ins. Now out of the last four, here are the two that I think will not be finishing as Pittsburgh Penguins.
He is a veteran defensemen, yes. He is a good presence to have in the locker room for the younger players, yes. He is a giant on the ice, yes. However, I just do not think that he fits into the style of play the Penguins are moving towards.
At times this year he has looked sluggish as if he just did not care if he was getting to the puck first or not. He has only two points this year, and has recently been sidelined with an injury. The Penguins could use him in March to help bring in a play-maker.
Whitney is a great hockey player with a lot of potential. He should be coming back to the Penguins by the end of this month or early January. He should help the Penguins make a nice push during his time back. However, I just do not see the Pens holding onto him.
If he had played all year then it may be a different story, but since these young kids that have come up from Wilkes-Barre have done so well there is no need for the Pens to keep him on the roster. He too could be a big trade boost in getting somebody as well.
Now I know that my choices here are probably going to piss some people off, and have others scratching their heads on why I would get rid of those two. However, that is what I think the Pens should do, and also what seems to be the best move for the Pens to make a deep playoff push.