NHL Rumors: Pittsburgh Penguins: Marcus Pettersson, Nikita Gusev, and Nick Bjugstad

Marcus Pettersson, NHL Rumors, Nick Bjugstad, Nikita Gusev, Pittsburgh Penguins, Zach Aston-Reese
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© Dennis Schneidler | 2019 Apr 10 — USA Today images
Signing Marcus Pettersson and Zachary Aston-Reese Economical

Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey NOW:  The simple road to saving money for Pittsburgh is re-signing players like Marcus Pettersson. That also means signing Zachary Aston-Reese and even Teddy Blueger. This sounds crazy but it is not. Pittsburgh possesses enough salary cap space to pull off all three. Here is how.

Swap out Tristan Jarry for Casey DeSmith. Yes, it is a gamble but again this saves money. For even more savings, Pittsburgh sending Zach Trotman and Chad Ruhwedel add another $1.4 million of cap space.

Furthermore, Pittsburgh could gamble and try to bury Blueger as well. That requires the Penguins rotate 12 forwards but they have done this previously.

Signing Pettersson remains the priority as he could come in around $1.5 – $2 million. After that, the Penguins should have a better idea of what they can and cannot afford. Until then, we await the next move(s) from Jim Rutherford who admitted the cap is “tight”.

Latest rumors with Nikita Gusev and Nick Bjugstad make little sense

Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey NOW:  Alas, the biggest problem in acquiring Nikita Gusev is where do you fit him in as far as cap space. He expects to cost $4 million AAV and that is something Pittsburgh cannot afford. Plus, they must sign their RFA’s still. It would be a heck of a lineup but just not practical.

To add insult to injury, Vegas is over the salary cap and would need to take less money in. Pittsburgh increasing cap that much has too many consequences. Then, there is Gusev’s utilization.

Gusev would likely wind up in the middle-six and would either of those lines be worse off defensively. It is a question that has to be asked. Pittsburgh needs better defensive accountability from their forwards — not worse.

Consequently, trading Nick Bjugstad elsewhere right now is not likely as he does provide the ability to create scoring chances. Yes, pucks did not go in the way they should have but there were more opportunities than less. One of the biggest questions with Nikita Gusev is defensive ability at the NHL level. That is more of uncertainty than keeping Nick Bjugstad.

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