Look at me, already looking into the playoffs, then again, there are only about 38 games remaining in the season.
With teams starting to splash into the trading market in this shortened 48 game season, I expect other teams to start following suit, a lot of teams as a matter of fact. And one of them being the already high scoring Penguins.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, sitting first in the Atlantic Division and second in the Eastern Conference, could be looking to acquire another winger to play alongside Evgeni Malkin. The LW has been a revolving door this season for the Penguins second line, and although they recently claimed Zach Boychuk off waivers, I’m still not convinced the door has finally shut.
Boychuk should easily put up numbers playing alongside Malkin and Neal, but if not, don’t expect him to remain a Penguin for much longer, especially when it gets close to playoff time. Depth is key in this shortened season, due to the fact every team will have to deal with some sort of an injury at some point.
It’s believed the Penguins are once again taking a look at Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nikolai Kulemin. Evgeni Malkin, who currently leads the Penguins in assists with 10, played alongside Kulemin during the lockout in the KHL.
Last season, the Penguins inquired about Kulemin’s availability, but a deal was never finalized and Ex-GM Brian Burke reportedly turned down a first-round pick in exchange for him. Things could be different now that Burke is no longer acting GM.
In nine games with the Leafs so far this season, Kulemin has recorded one goal and five assists. Put him on a line with Malkin and Neal, and Kulemin could easily rack up 2-3 goals a week.
Personally, I believe if the Penguins pull this off, they will be very hard to beat come playoff time. That’s if the Penguins remain healthy going into the playoffs.
I had Kulemin on my fantasy hockey team, although recently dropped (due to the fact that the Leafs are a mess and need defense) he will be a great pick up if he finds himself in Pittsburgh.
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