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Penguins notebook: Team not close to any trades

Penguins general manager Ray Shero.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013, 8:42 p.m.

General manager Ray Shero is unlikely to tip his hand as the NHL trade deadline approaches.

But with less than three weeks left before April 3, Shero said tight playoff races have clubs only “touching base to see what the needs are.”

“As a manager, all you can do is keep touch with teams, continue to monitor your own team and see what needs may be,” Shero said.

The Penguins would like to bolster their depth on defense and at forward, preferably with a top-four defenseman that specializes in own-zone play and a winger that could add scoring to the third or fourth lines. Center Brandon Sutter (13 points) and left winger Matt Cooke (12) are the only bottom-six forwards at double-digits in scoring.

Adding players who can contribute on the penalty kill is a priority. The Penguins were 78.2 percent on the penalty kill (25th overall) heading into Thursday.

The club is interested in Calgary captain Jarome Iginla, a right winger and impending free agent. But he might not fill a top-six role with the Penguins, and Iginla has a no-movement clause in his Flames contract.

• Coach Dan Bylsma said he couldn't provide an update on center Evgeni Malkin, who missed a third consecutive game Thursday. Malkin is out for as long as to two weeks with an undisclosed upper-body injury, which the Penguins have said isn't concussion or head-related. He was injured Saturday when he was hit into the boards by Toronto's James van Riemsdyk. Malkin didn't accompany the Penguins to Toronto for Thursday's rematch. Bylsma said he wasn't aware if Malkin had skated Thursday in Pittsburgh. He also didn't rule out Malkin playing in weekend home games Saturday against the Rangers or Sunday against the Bruins.

• Defenseman Brooks Orpik wore a shield against the Maple Leafs. He decided to wear face protection after an injury to Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, who was struck in the face recently by a deflected puck. Orpik had previously played without a shield, though he wore one during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Shields are mandatory for Olympic play. Shields are not required for NHL players. The union must approve any league-wide mandate for face protection.

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