My original plan was to discuss ALL of the trades made on this NHL trade deadline, but in the last 20 minutes of the trading period, our Pens got Hal Gill from the Maple Leafs and Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis from the Thrashers. This is about to be a very interesting last 20 games...
Hossa is that ever elusive "pure scoring winger" we've been looking for to be Crosby's wingman ever since he donned the black and gold. If we sign him past this year (and if there's a God in heaven we will), we can expect about 50-70 goals from him, as long as he stays healthy. This was a huge splash of a move by Ray Shero, showing he thinks the Pens are poised to make a run at the Cup this season. His teammate Dupuis is basically a capable fourth or possibly third line player, and adds a little depth to the roster.
Gill is a shut down defensemen (at least according to TSN's coverage of the deadline), who carries a big stick and knows how to use it. He's physical, and brings experience to our blue line, something we will definitely need in the playoffs. The only problem with him is he's not really suited for a speed game, but as a defender in our third pairing, his physicality overtakes his lack of speed.
What did we give up you say? Well, one of our favorite Pens, Colby Armstrong is on the way out, as is Erik Christensen and Angelo Espisito. There's also a pretty good chance we lose a first round pick too. Not too bad at all, considering what we got in return.
Here's how Snack sees our lines playing out once Sid returns and we're at full stregnth.
Hossa - Crosby - Roberts
Malone - Malkin - Sykora
Ruutu - Staal - Kennedy
Laraque - Talbot - Dupuis
Gonchar - Scuderi/Orpik
Whitney - Sydor
Letang - Gill
I think this trade makes us the team to beat in the East. I know it's a bold statement, but when Roberts and Sid come back, everyone else better watch out. Not only will we have the most skill in the league with Crosby, Malkin, Hossa, Sykora, Gonchar and Letang, but we'll be one of the grittiest, most in your face teams withe the likes of Roberts, Laraque, Ruutu, Talbot, Staal, Gill and Orpik. This could be the nucleus of one of the best teams in recent memory if we can somehow manage to keep it together.
So in short - LET'S GO PENS!!!!
In other Pittsburgh Sports news, it's being reported on ESPN Insider that the Steelers are talking to DE Justin Smith about joining the club. Smith would be a nice addition, but would also probably signal the return of the 4-3 to Pittsburgh. Why else would you go after a somewhat bigtime DE? Maybe they're considering moving Aaron Smith the DT alone with Hampton, and leaving Keisel and J. Smith as the DE's.
Or maybe it's just a load of crap that the Justin Smith camp is throwing out there to try and get more money from his potential suitors. Who knows?