The Pittsburgh Penguins are in the market for a centre, according to president of hockey operations Brian Burke.
On Wednesday, Burke told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the team was seeking help down the middle on account of injuries to Evgeni Malkin and Teddy Blueger.
Malkin has missed the last seven games due to a lower body injury, while Blueger has been out for the last eight with an upper body injury. Jared McCann and Frederick Gaudreau have been filling in.
Ahead of Thursday’s contest against the Boston Bruins, the Penguins find themselves with a 23-11-2 record. That gives them 48 points, same as the New York Islanders and two behind the division-leading Washington Capitals.
Pittsburgh is currently seven points ahead of the Bruins.
Burke and general manager Ron Hextall were hired on February 9 after Jim Rutherford stepped down from his post and they will be looking to make an impression on the team, which in this case seems to add up to more physicality at the centre position.
Burke stated his desire to add some toughness, while Hextall told the Penguins Radio Network that the team was looking for a physical forward.
Burke said he knows head coach Mike Sullivan wants discipline from his team and is willing to be flexible. “I agree with him in general (that you should hurt a team on the scoreboard),” Burke added. “But I also think there are times when it helps to have those type of people dressed.”
If the Penguins do try to land one of those “type of people” ahead of the trade deadline, Hextall says the second round pick for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft is not on the table. Pittsburgh already dealt its first round pick to acquire Jason Zucker last year.
Overall, the Penguins seem happy with their group and it’s not likely we’ll see a blockbuster trade coming out of Pittsburgh. But if a deal is on the table to add some truculence to the roster, expect Hextall and Co. to be open to suggestions come April 12.