The theme this offseason for the Pittsburgh Penguins blue line has been evolution. The Penguins traded multi-season starters Mike Matheson and John Marino in favor of Jeff Petry and Ty Smith, and Stanley Cup champion defenseman Jan Rutta signed a three-year contract. All of a sudden, there are nine NHL-caliber defensemen on the Penguins’ roster.
Whether or not another blue liner will be traded from the Penguins before the start of the 2022-23 season remains to be seen, but Marcus Pettersson is unlikely to be involved in those conversations.
Pettersson has apparently been on the Penguins’ trading block since signing his current contract in January 2020. He has three years left on that contract and counts $4.025 million toward the salary cap. After next season, a modified no-trade clause will go into effect, making it harder for the 26-year-old defenseman to move if the Penguins go that route. But why would they?
While the Penguins’ slew of trades this summer have strengthened the right side of the blue line, it has left the left side in a precarious position. They’re betting Brian Dumoulin’s return from MCL surgery to have a much better 2022-23 season after a year in which he struggled to reach the level he’s known for on top couple.
If he can’t get back to his old form, the only other left-handed defenseman who could fill that role on both top pairing and top penalty-killing unit is Pettersson. Beyond that, Pettersson proved last season that he is one of the best defensive defensemen in the NHL.
While trading Pettersson could give the Penguins some much-needed salary cap relief, his ability and role are too important to warrant his transfer.
The guys also discuss Kris Letang’s ranking as one of the top 20 defensemen by NHL Network and rumors that the Penguins’ reverse retro jersey will be yellow. To agree!
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