Thursday, January 24, 2008

Should The Penguins Trade Sidney Crosby?

The Pittsburgh Penguins are now 3 games into life without Sidney Crosby, and the results so far have been mixed. One thing that has been made very clear though is that Evgeni Malkin is more than capable of playing the role of "franchise center/forward/player" when Sid is out. Including last season, Malkin has shown that he can put the team on his back while Crosby is out of the lineup. That got me to thinking... would the Penguins be better off trading Sid?

Ever since early last season a hot topic for Penguins fans has been how will the team keep all of their young talent in Pittsburgh with a salary cap in place. This isn't to say that I don't think the Penguins can keep their core intact. I think the Senators have laid a solid blueprint for locking up the nucleus of your team and staying under the salary cap. I really do think the Penguins can keep Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Fleury, and Whitney in the black and gold for the long haul. But that doesn't mean they couldn't improve the team by moving Sid.

While I love Sid to death and would love nothing more than to see him win several Cups and rewrite the NHL record books in a Penguins jersey, I would not be upset if Crosby was traded in the "right" deal in order to improve the Pens' chances of winning the Stanley Cup. If the right offer came along, I wouldn't hold it against Ray Shero if he took it.

The first step would be to consider which teams would be viable candidates for acquiring Sidney's talents. There is no way you could move him to a division rival and really it would be ideal to move him to the Western Conference if he is to be dealt. With that in mind, here is my list of possible destinations for Sid:

  • Toronto
  • Montreal
  • Detroit
  • Chicago
  • St. Louis
  • Dallas
  • Los Angeles
  • Anaheim
  • San Jose
  • Colorado
Now that we have a where in place, we need to determine what would it take to get Sid out of the Steel City. In my mind it would probably take a couple top prospects, one or two proven NHL-caliber players, and maybe a draft pick or two. If you took this coming offseason as the earliest possible window for Crosby to be traded, I would narrow down the list of potential trade partners to Chicago, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Montreal, St. Louis and San Jose. I don't see the other teams on the above list having either enough to offer the Penguins in return or the need to give up that much in the coming year or two to be serious considerations.

I understand that any offer for a player of Sid's ability who is still years away from his prime would most likely be promptly rejected, but Ray Shero would have to take some time to think it over if one of the following offers came his way this offseason:

Chicago offers:
- Jonathan Toews
- Martin Havlat
- Brent Seabrook
- Cam Barker
- 1st Round Draft Pick
for:
- Sidney Crosby
- Sergei Gonchar

Los Angeles offers:
- Dustin Brown
- Patrick O'Sullivan
- Jack Johnson
- Thomas Hickey
- 1st Round Draft Pick
for:
- Sidney Crosby
- 3rd Round Pick

San Jose offers:
- Jonathan Cheechoo
- Devin Setoguchi
- Joe Pavelski
- Matt Carle
- 1st Round Pick
for:
- Sidney Crosby
- Sergei Anshakov

St. Louis offers:
- Brad Boyes
- David Perron
- T.J. Oshie
- Ian Cole
- 1st Round Pick
for:
- Sidney Crosby
- Brian Strait

These are offers that would be too tempting to immediately dismiss as they could set the Penguins up to be Cup favorites for many years. I do believe that any time in the next 2 or 3 years would be too early to move Sid. My goal here is more to illustrate the kind of offers I think it would take to land him and that the Penguins may be better off moving him. If they could bring in a package of players and picks comparable to the ones above to compliment the players already in place (especially if Angelo Esposito reaches his potential) they could form a dominant team in Pittsburgh.

As crazy as it may seem right now, there could come a time where trading Sidney Crosby gives the Pens their best chance at success. It's not like there isn't precedent for a move like this either. Gretzky was traded in his prime and the Penguins themselves traded Jaromir Jagr coming off a string of 4 consecutive NHL scoring titles (under less than ideal circumstances). Hopefully things would work out a little better for the Pens if Crosby is moved.

9 comments:

Let's Play Hockey said...

You really gave this a lot of thought, and it seems like a logical idea. With that in mind, I just can't wrap my head around Pitt actually trading Sid the Kid for anyone. While I agree that an offer of Setoguchi, Pavelski, Cheechoo and more would be too tempting to just dismiss, Sid is keeping the NHL afloat right now and to trade him would shake the league to no end (although I wouldn't mind giving up the entire farm system to see him here in Minnesota)

Sean said...

I believe the Oilers traded Wayne because they didn't want to pay him. Sidney makes his teammates better, that's why he's valuable in a Cup run. I'd be more than willing to deal Fleury or Staal over Sid in that situation. Both have yet to prove themselves consistently in the league.

And re: the Chicago deal...Marty Havlat? Are you looking for a guy that can take up the IR spot on a regular basis? :)

Anonymous said...

What is the Penguins record without Sidney Crosby? 1-4-1? 1-5-1? Yeah, trade him. Great idea. Maybe they can get Mark Recchi back.

Malkin is a world class talent, no doubt, but he doesn't replace Sid.

I understand the premise of the post, and the thought process is, I guess interesting, but I have to say that anyone who honestly believes the Pens could/should trade Crosby to somehow make them better is unimaginable. The fact that you would accept this makes me doubt the hockey knowledge of the writer.

Loser Chris said...

sean,

Throwing in Havlat was largely to make the cap numbers work. There's no way a team could take on Sid's salary without giving back someone who is making a decent salary in return.

anon,

You talk as if the Pens would be giving Sid away and getting nothing in return. The sum of the parts acquired in a Crosby deal could definitely outweigh what Sid brings to the table as an individual. Not to mention the players already in place for the Penguins. If you really think the Penguins couldn't get better as a result of moving Sid then I don't know what to tell you.

justin said...

It only took me about 3 and a half seconds to decline all those offers. However Sidney Crosby suiting up in a Los Angeles jersey is probably what Gary Bettman dreams about every night.

Anonymous said...

Outrageous.

Anonymous said...

How many players should you try to get for crosby?... Why don't you ask the 5 canadien's players he single handedly sliced through for a goal last year. Penguins landed the single greatest luck of the draft since Mario lemieux and there isn't a team in the world that wouldn't want to add him to their lineup. To think of trading his irreplaceable talent for a couple of prospects and a couple of veterans who have half the skill and drive of crosby is the quite possibly the dumbest of ideas to be kicked around since the Penguins traded jagr for a couple of prospects and no namers. Guess how the pens got crosby - by trading away jagr and living in the basement long enough to get that first round pick. Come on.. get some sort of brains here.

Anonymous said...

To say you are retarded would be an insult to "brain challenged" people everywhere.

David Weifenbaugh said...

As a Pens fan, I hate to say that I agree with you. What makes this all talk all the more sensical is that it isn't like the Pens would be in rebuilding mode, as was with the Jagr trade, but would be looking to be a more fully rounded team. This is because the presence of Malkin. Give up a superstar to get a few pieces of the puzzle to compliment another superstar in Geno.

If you flopped Patrick Sharp in for Havlat because of his injury proneness and added in Billy Sweatt a LW prospect (#4th in the system) I would take that deal in a heartbeat. Considering that you now have a playmaker and young talent who is just a notch below Crosby in Toews, and pick up a goal scorer in Sharp, and two you mainstays on the blue line.