Here we go again.
It was reported yesterday that Sidney Crosby is out indefinitely with concussion like symptoms.
The Penguins are 12-6-3 this season without Sidney Crosby. Last season they were 23-13-5 without him and put up the second-highest total of points in franchise history. In the playoffs they were one win away from advancing to the second round and many feel with Matt Cooke, who was suspended during the series, they would've been able to beat the Lightning.
So does it make sense for general manager Ray Shero to listen to offers for Crosby this summer? Do the Penguins want to be stuck with a player who's going to have health problems for the rest of his career?
Crosby becomes an unrestricted free agent during the 2013 summer and he's going to command top dollar. This is going to make it extremely difficult to keep the Penguins core of Fleury, Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Letang, and Orpik intact with the hard salary cap.
So should the Pens trade him?
Yes and no.
By trading him, the Penguins can get a lot in return for No. 87 rather than watching him walk away for nothing during free agency. They can get several first round draft picks, a shut down defenseman, and several young underpaid scorers in return for Crosby.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have shown they can win without Crosby. With Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal healthy and James Neal scoring at a rapid clip, the Pens are still one of the most dangerous teams in the league.
By adding more pieces in a possible Crosby trade along with some first-round draft picks, the Penguins will be preparing for the future as well.
It's more important that the Penguins build around the rest of their core rather than one guy. If the Penguins keep Crosby, he will be asking for at least $10 million per year. Alex Ovechkin in Washington has a $9.5 million cap hit so it only makes sense that Crosby, the best player in the world, gets paid more than that.
The Penguins also don't know if his concussion problems will persist throughout the rest of his career. Do they really want to risk that?
But on the contrary, it will be tough to see him go. He's a once in a generation type of player and it's understandable why the Penguins won't let him go. His concussion problems may cease to bother him and he may end up burning the Pens if he does leave. So why trade him?
It's a risk. But it's also a risk keeping him on the roster and constantly hearing that Crosby is "out indefinitely."
That being said, the Penguins should not do any trade for Crosby unless they really get a offer they can't turn down. They need to get draft picks, a top ten scorer, and other valuable role players.
Either way, Shero should at least keep his options open. It's not worth it to go on for years with Sid if he's going to be making the injury headlines more often than the scoring headlines. It's also not going to be easy to give Crosby a long term monster contract if he continues to have concussion problems.
Financially it doesn't make sense to do that. It's always more important to take the emotion out of making tough business decisions like this one.
At the same time, these concussion symptoms could just be a temporary black eye in Crosby's career and he may continue to show us what he demonstrated on the ice for the previous three weeks for years to come.
In a perfect world, the latter will happen and the Pens will be able to keep Crosby for a hometown discount. The world isn't perfect though and reality bites.
It's going to be an interesting year and a half and in the back of Shero's head, he has to be thinking what he's going to be doing with the greatest player in the world.