Shelly Anderson: We've been out because of the Olympic break. Welcome back to the Penguins chat.
Ross: With our depth at D, would it be easy (for lack of a better word) to shut down Letang and bring up someone from WB to get them ready for the playoffs? Assuming Martin has no setbacks with his hand and is also back for April. I would hate to have the ongoing Letang questions especially with what he went through.
Shelly Anderson: They might not have to shut down Kris Letang, who is recovering from a stroke. There's no guarantee he will be cleared to return this season. They might need to make some assumptions about that as Wednesday's trade deadline approaches because of salary cap and roster implications. As for bringing up a young defenseman, does Simon Despres qualify?
Nate: What are the odds of Kesler landing in Pittsburgh? And if he does, will we still have enough cap space with Malkin, Letang, and Dupuis getting a raise?
Shelly Anderson: Really don't know the odds, just that the Penguins are interested, which is, at most, only half of the equation. Ryan Kesler, a two-way center, has the qualities a lot of teams would like, although he has a no-trade clause – and it's not clear whether Vancouver is set on trading him. As for cap space, his $5 million hit would force some maneuvering during the offseason.
Dave: Can the Pens really compete with their TDL aquasition(s)? Can they clean up their game enough?
Shelly Anderson: We don't know at this point if there will be any trade deadline acquisitions, but it's more than fair to say that they have been competing at a high level most of the season already.
Randy B.: Welcome back! I miss Jarkko Ruutu and his antics. Who on the current Penguins roster is the best trash talker? Also, how personal can it get?
Shelly Anderson: I only really see that in practice. Marc-Andre Fleury certainly has a lot of chatter and antics aimed at his teammates. Backup goalie Jeff Zatkoff is talkative, too, but I'm not sure it's in the realm of trash talking. As for the flavor of things, I would imagine at least some of the in-game chatter is not suitable for print here.
The Chief: Shelly, welcome back. What move, if any, do the Penguins have to make at the trade deadline,
Shelly Anderson: Thanks. They don't have to make any moves, although GM Ray Shero usually does. No idea at this point whether we might see a blockbuster or a tweak or two.
The Chief: Shelly, will Letang's and Dupuis salaries count against the Penguins cap?
Shelly Anderson: If a player is put on long-term injured reserve, the team can go over the salary cap by the amount of that player's cap hit. And, as a refresher, salary cap compliance isn't enforced during the playoffs.
Ali: Do you think the penguins could really get Kessler? You think that they are disspointed in sutter?
Shelly Anderson: It's hard to say because of the variables -- which teams Kesler would OK, given his no-trade clause; how open the Canucks are to trading him; and how high the price tag is.
It would be unfair to be disappointed in Brandon Sutter, considering he has yet to have anything close to regular linemates since he's been with the Penguins. He's shown enough to know he's a good third-line center.
Sam: I think it's time to trade Orpik and build some draft picks up. Do the Penguins really feel they have a chance at the cup and they need a declining Orpik for it?
Shelly Anderson: Brooks Orpik isn't having his finest season, which is a bit surprising because by all accounts he's finally healthy in terms of all the abdominal muscle problems he had. He hasn't really had a chance to grow into the role he was slated for this season: part of a shutdown pairing with Paul Martin, who has been injured quite a bit. Orpik also missed some games because of a concussion.
As far as trade bait, Orpik would be a rental player and might not command multiple draft picks.
Fordy: Kobasew has finally been waived. Does this make Bylsma continuously pushing him to the top six with Malkin and Crosby more humorous or sad in hindsight?
Shelly Anderson: Neither. Chuck Kobasew, who was placed on waivers today, has been all over the place in the lineup. He came in on a tryout basis and had a strong enough training camp to earn a contract. There was nothing wrong with trying him on Sidney Crosby's line. Those two share an agent and have skated together during some summer workout camps. Kobasew has had a hard time staying healthy since that strong camp.
Cherry: Do you think the Pens will add players aside from a big deal? Size and grit is much needed in the bottom 6.
Shelly Anderson: I'm sure Ray Shero is looking. Not only size and grit, but maybe a touch more offense on the third and fourth lines would help, too.
SadFace: Any news on Bennett's wrist and plans regarding him? This injury has sucked, but it's not a surprise for this team. How does the organization feel about the constant injuries? Any theories on what causes it?
Shelly Anderson: Winger Beau Bennett has had a tough time getting back from wrist surgery. He's still young, still has the first-round pedigree, still has moves and offensive flair. It's too bad he's had to deal with injuries, but in no way do I see the Penguins being exasperated enough to think about giving up on him.
DarylDixon: Do you think Bylsma has learned anything from his failure at the Olympics? Because things are starting to add up there, it's concerning. Vokoun info would be nice, any deets?
Shelly Anderson: Not sure what things are adding up, but I would hope any coach would learn from such an experience as coaching in the Olympics.
As for Tomas Vokoun, he's still skating and trying to get back into game shape and game sharpness. He skated today with Bennett and Chris Conner before practice, leaving the two nets to Fleury and Zatkoff in the main practice.
RazzleDazzle: What do you think of Chris Stewart? Actually, what do you think about the Kesler trade talks and how reliable do you think they are?
Shelly Anderson: He's a fine trainer for the Penguins and well respected by the players.
Oh, you mean the player. He's a gets-under-your-skin guy with some offensive upside.
The Penguins are, in fact, interesting in acquiring Kesler. What the terms are from moment to moment is hard to say, but he won't come cheap.
Gibberish: Did you get to see any medals?
Shelly Anderson: No, if players brought them in, they didn't flash them around reporters. Sidney Crosby specifically mentioned that he didn't bring his gold medal in. He's not one to gloat, especially when some of his Penguins teammates fell short of the gold in Sochi.
Nick: What issues do you think are most pressing for the penguins to try and correct at the deadline.
Shelly Anderson: I see an upgrade among the bottom six forwards, particularly at wing, as something that would help. Getting a player or two back from injury before the playoffs -- specifically Paul Martin and Beau Bennett -- would be as good as a trade, without giving up anything.
Sam: Why does HCDB keep jerking around Despres? His play is inconsistent because his TOI is inconsistent don't you agree?
Shelly Anderson: Simon Despres is a curious case. He apparently plays like a beast, including defenisvely, when he's in the AHL. He's flashed that in the NHL, but also had some poorer games and made some glaring mistakes. You can argue -- and you did -- that he would benefit from more opportunity, but it's obvious that the Penguins aren't comfortable with doing that.
Kira: With Vokoun getting back in shape, are the Penguins planning to keep all three of their goalies?
Shelly Anderson: Good question. Bylsma said last week that they would like to keep all three and are thinking of creative ways to get them all practice time (and perhaps game time, if Vokoun gets to that point).
Adam: The Penguins seem to be giving up more odd man rushes and goals than they were earlier this year. Is there a reason for the dropoff besides injuries?
Shelly Anderson: Injuries certainly play a part. You can look at Paul Martin being absent, for instance. But a lot of it has been some sloppy play, including turnovers, by players of all position.
Tony the Tiger: The Pens will probably have to clear up some cap-space to accommodate some trades. Do you foresee Vokoun possibly being moved?
Shelly Anderson: He can't be moved while he's inactive.
malkin71: What a disappointing result in chicago:( Why do the penguins insist on playing a fancy game in bad conditions? Havent they learned their lesson this being their third outdoor game?
Shelly Anderson: It's not as if they can really say no the NHL for something like that and still expect to get a draft or All-Star game here or there.
jamie: when Letang returns, has there ever been any thought of trying him on crosby's wing. With his offensive ability, this may fill an internal void and allow one of our youngsters to take his place on the D. Thank you
Shelly Anderson: No. It's one thing for Deryk Engelland to add some grit to the fourth line at times, but it really is a different ballgame. That just won't happen.
Shelly Anderson: Thanks, everyone. Lots more questions,but have a busy afternoon ahead. Wish I had a crystal ball to say what the Penguins will do at the trade deadline. We can talk about what happens on the flip side, next Monday.