Penguins general manager Shero OK with coming up empty at trade deadline
It wasn't that Penguins general manager Ray Shero wasn't willing to make a move. But he was only willing to make it on his terms.
Shero acknowledged that he made numerous offers in the hours before Monday's trade deadline. Nothing materialized, and Shero has no problem entering the playoffs with his current roster.
"I think we have a pretty good hockey team here," Shero said. "A lot of things have come together for us. A number of our guys have rings. That counts for something."
Shero predicted in the days leading up to the trade deadline that his team would do nothing significant and that few blockbuster moves would be conducted around the league.
He couldn't have been more right.
The trade deadline day — a holiday for hockey fans who are annually showered by dozens of trades — was a dud, as few teams made bold moves to better their teams. Columbus star Rick Nash, the biggest name on the market, remained with the Blue Jackets even after the New York Rangers made a late, dramatic push for his services.
It isn't believed that the Penguins were involved in any conversations about big names.
"It was pretty quiet," Shero said. "We had a number of conversations. The price, in our opinion, was too high for some players. We did make offers on some players. Those players never got moved."
A quick glance at the NHL standings explains why few players were dealt Monday.
Parity rules the NHL, as about 25 of the league's 30 teams still possess a reasonable chance at making the postseason. Even if a team doesn't fancy itself as a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, qualifying for the playoffs is a significant financial accomplishment, as home Stanley Cup playoff games can generate close to $1 million for NHL teams.
Because of this, few teams were willing to sell players for discounted prices.
"There are less and less trades at the deadline," Shero said. "It's the parity. There's a lot of hockey to be played. Teams are optimistic that they'll make the playoffs."
Instead of pursuing a deal for an impact player, the Penguins simply hope to see a healthy Sidney Crosby play again this season. Shero again said that he isn't sure if Crosby will be back this season, but that the team simply couldn't duplicate or replace its captain with a trade.
"I'm hopeful he'll come back and play," Shero said. "There's no guarantee in that."
Shero, who offered a guarantee to the Tribune-Review in January that his team would make the playoffs the day after it had lost its sixth straight game, has said all along that an upgrade wasn't necessary.
"It's easy to say that as a manager," Shero said. "But I said this six weeks ago when we lost six in a row. I like our hockey team."
He liked it enough to keep it together.
"It was a long day to come up with nothing," Shero said. "But we're fine with that. In our case, we're happy with our team going forward."
The Penguins didn't acquire anyone at the NHL trade deadline. But they could be getting some players back soon.
Player: Last played, Injury, Return
Sidney Crosby: Dec. 5, Concussion symptoms, Maybe this season
Tyler Kennedy: Feb. 5, High ankle sprain, 1-2 weeks
Arron Asham: Feb. 25, Upper-body injury, Unknown