Originally written on Bleed Black & Gold  |  Last updated 2/6/12

With the NHL trade deadline just weeks away, there is only one thing you can be sure of –a lot of players will be wearing new uniforms.  The NHL trade deadline is always the most active of all the American sports because teams are always looking to add that extra presence to their roster or the upcoming playoff push.  Every year there are plenty of rumors and big names that get tossed around, and if there is one thing we have learned in recent years, it is that Penguins GM Ray Shero is not afraid to make a big time move to better his roster.

But does he need to this year?

Perhaps.  A lot of that depends on the teams health moving forward.  With a healthy Crosby, I can’t imagine that any moves are required.  The Penguins at full strength have plenty of skill and depth to make a deep playoff push.  It’s more of a matter of just piecing it all together at the right time.  But what if Crosby isn’t back, what then?

A player that could fetch a solid return for a top six forward on a one or two year rental would be Eric Tangradi, and according to Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the decision makers in Pittsburgh aren’t all necessarily sold that Tangradi will turn into that Kevin Stevens-like power forward.  Tangradi has been bouncing around the Penguins organization over the last couple of years and has had success with the Baby Pens but it has yet to translate to the NHL level.  That doesn’t mean it won’t though.  I’ve seen Tangradi play numerous times and he does things right, but he lacks the polished finishing skills you’d like to see from a top six forward.  That generally comes with age, but even so, I wouldn’t mind seeing him be a little more physical with that 6’4″ 220lb frame in the mean time. 

Even though his contributions have been minimal to date, there is still so much room for improvement.  That said, he certainly isn’t untouchable I’d have to imagine.  The upside is there but he can’t hold a roster spot if he isn’t going to contribute, so eventually a decision will have to be made about his future.  In the mean time, I can’t imagine that Shero wouldn’t be entertaining offers on the 22 year old winger.  After all, he could fetch a decent price on this year’s market.  There are several rental players available the Penguins could add for this year’s run for the Cup, but is a rental player really worth giving up potential like Tangradi?  It’s one of those decisions that I’m glad I don’t have to make, but it goes without saying that I fully trust Ray Shero’s decision making and still consider him to be one of the top GM’s in all of sports let alone the NHL so I’m sure he’ll make the right decision regarding Tangradi’s future in Pittsburgh.

As for any other players of note that you could see traded, the only one I can really think of is Paul Martin.  He has flat out struggled this year.  He started well but when Michalek went down with injury, Martin fell off and never returned to form.  Martin was a big money free agent and needs to play like one.  We can’t afford a $5M cap hit for an average defenseman so if I were to vote anyone off the island, right now he would make most sense, but I highly doubt a deal involving Martin will happen.

 

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