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NHL Rumor Mill – February 12, 2024

Check out the latest on the Penguins, Flames, Stars and Sharks in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

SHOULD THE PENGUINS FINALLY MAKE CHANGES?

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski believes the Penguins’ constant self-destruction in recent games leaves them unable to control their destiny. He believes it’s time to shake up the roster and that includes trades.

Kingerski believes general manager Kyle Dubas must do something or else the Penguins can kiss this season goodbye. If he cannot get Jake Guentzel re-signed and if the club isn’t going to compete for the playoffs, trading him could fetch a first-round pick lost in last summer’s Erik Karlsson trade as well as a solid prospect.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Mark Madden believes the Penguins can’t swap any futures in a vain attempt to win now. He feels the club is going nowhere and Guentzel should be shopped before the trade deadline.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is defying Father Time with another terrific season while defenseman Kris Letang is playing well. Goaltender Tristan Jarry leads the league with six shutouts and is among the league leaders in save percentage (.916) and goals-against average (2.44). Guentzel is also enjoying a fine performance with 51 points in 49 games.

However, the rest of the Penguins are a mess as Kingerski and Madden pointed out. They’re currently seven points out of a wild-card spot. At their current pace, they won’t make the playoffs. If Dubas can’t get Guentzel re-signed before the trade deadline, he has no choice but to move him and start building for the future.

On Saturday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Penguins are content to see how the rest of this month pans out before deciding on Guentzel. Nevertheless, I don’t doubt that Dubas has been getting inquiries into the availability of the 29-year-old winger.

WHAT COULD THE FLAMES GET FOR TANEV, HANIFIN AND MARKSTROM?

SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Pat Steinberg was asked what kind of return the Calgary Flames could get for goaltender Jacob Markstrom and defensemen Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin.

It’s been reported the Flames won’t move Markstrom unless they can get a massive return. However, Steinberg points out how perilous trading for starting goalies has been in previous trade deadlines.

Steinberg believes the Flames would seek a first-round pick, a top prospect and a roster player who can step in right away. Meanwhile, it’s believed the Flames are holding out for a first-round pick for Tanev.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Steinberg’s assessments. As far as trading Markstrom goes, a playoff wannabe like the New Jersey Devils could overpay to get him before the deadline. Steinberg’s colleague Elliotte Friedman reported the Devils had discussions with the Flames last week. However, he said those talks stalled over the Flames’ asking price and retaining a portion of Markstrom’s $6 million annual salary cap hit.

POSSIBLE TRADE BAIT FOR THE STARS AND SHARKS

THE ATHLETIC: Saad Yousef recently noted the Dallas Stars’ need to improve their blueline depth for the playoffs. He speculated that defenseman Nils Lundkvist and forwards Radek Faksa, Evgenii Dadonov and Ty Dellandrea could be used as potential trade bait. They could also offer up draft picks if they’re unwilling to part with prospects such as Mavrik Bourque, Logan Stankoven and Lian Bichsel.

Assessing the San Jose Sharks’ trade candidates, Eric Stephens believes they’ll attempt to move pending UFAs like goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen, defenseman Calen Addison and forwards Alexander Barabonov and Anthony Duclair. Stephens also doesn’t rule out Mario Ferraro, Luke Kunin, Jan Rutta and Jacob MacDonald becoming trade candidates but believes they’re probably not moving.

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