Injuries could handcuff Penguins' Shero at trade deadline
Ray Shero is in a bad spot.
The Penguins general manager announced Tuesday that injuries bombarding his team are worse than expected, that the team's salary-cap inflexibility will make swinging a deal before the March 5 trade deadline difficult and that few teams are interested in dealing desired veterans because of the logjam in the standings.
With the Olympics in the rearview mirror for the man who served as Team USA's assistant general manager, augmenting a talented but incomplete Penguins roster appears to be a difficult task.
Shero said he doesn't intend on adding to a defense core that has been decimated by the losses of Kris Letang (stroke) and Paul Martin (broken hand).
“With Paulie and Kris out, it goes back to where we were before,” Shero said. “We'll give these young guys opportunities. We'll see what happens over the next week or so. Hopefully there won't be any more injuries. Adding a defenseman for any team is going to be difficult.”
The injury report provided by Shero and coach Dan Bylsma was grim:
• Right wing Pascal Dupuis' knee injury wasn't just to his ACL but also to his MCL. He was forced to strengthen other portions of his knee before finally having surgery seven weeks following his injury. Dupuis will miss six to eight months, making his availability at the beginning of next season uncertain.
• Right wing Beau Bennett, dealing with a broken wrist, suffered a setback that will keep him out of the lineup for at least three to four more weeks. Bylsma called the setback “more of a bump in the road than a wall,” but Bennett figures to see little game action before the postseason.
• The Penguins remain unsure whether Letang will play again this season.
• Martin will miss at least four weeks with a broken hand and could miss closer to six weeks.
• Neither Bylsma nor Shero confirmed that goalie Tomas Vokoun, out since September with a blood clot, will play this season.
Letang's immediate future should play a role in how aggressive Shero is at the trade deadline. The general manager said he would leave room for Letang to play, should he be medically cleared to return before the playoffs. Shero would have more salary-cap flexibility to make a move if the team moved Letang to the long-term injured reserve list, which would free $3.5 million of prorated salary.
Shero said the team will attempt to make “an educated guess” regarding Letang's status, then act accordingly at the trade deadline.
Unlike last season, when he orchestrated a number of trades, Shero is predicting a quieter trade deadline day.
Only four teams — Calgary, Edmonton, Buffalo and Florida — are more than 10 points out of a playoff spot, which means few players are being sold off.
“We'll have a good idea come March 5,” Shero said. “In terms of attaining a top winger, I think that's a bit far-fetched.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins testing Fleury, Maatta, Bortuzzo for mumps
- Penguins defenseman Letang having best season in new system
- Mumps confirmed for Penguins’ Bennett; team intern also affected
- Penguins player might have exposed Children’s Hospital patients to mumps
- Penguins’ Maatta to seek second opinion for shoulder
- ‘Rash of sickness’ hits Crosby, Penguins
- Penguins notebook: Players back team doctors in mumps aftermath
- Penguins notebook: Johnston stands by decision on Crosby
- Penguins notebook: Crosby to miss 2 games as precautionary measure
- Penguins recall Ebbett after Goc injured vs. Hurricanes
- Penguins ready to welcome back Letang, Hornqvist to lineup