Trades Declined, Trades Possible, Contracts Signed

The Pittsburgh Penguins begin the nine-month journey of the 2022-23 NHL season in just over a week. Prospects and rookies open camp this week and even play a game later this week at the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo. In what could have been the calm before the storm, Pittsburgh Hockey Now scribe Dave Molinari told a few stories about the Penguins trade talks, including one from Brian Burke.

While previewing the underdogs in the Penguins camp, we realized that the players fighting for roster spots were all former first-round picks. Zach Aston-Reese stayed in the east but opened the door to the Edmonton media to blame the Oilers for missing out again. Much to the dogmatists’ relief, Dominik Simon said he turned down the Penguins’ invitation to camp.

Pittsburgh Penguins Week

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Dave Molinari spoke with Brian Burke earlier this week. Burke said the Penguins would be better this season, but a Penguins trade nugget was included in their conversation. Teams call the Penguins about their defenders. Nothing is active at the moment, but… “It’s a possibility.” Discussion of the penguin trade.

Burke also said the team relies on multiple players, including one of those defensemen, to have a rebounding season. Among those on whom we count to reverse the trend, we count Jason Zucker and Brian Dumoulin.

This week’s “bombshell” was that a Metro Division team attempted to sell their cap space to the Penguins. Molinari specifically didn’t include the team in the trade scoop, but a Metro team wanted the Penguins’ first-round pick to facilitate a trade for Zucker. Penguins general manager Ron Hextall was obviously hesitant. Learn more about the Penguins Trade Rejection.

Philly Hockey Now: Philly Hockey Now’s Sam Carchidi made the connection. He wrote that the mystery team that tried to acquire Zucker and a Penguins first could have been none other than rival Philadelphia Flyers.

Baby will not be put in a corner. Joey doesn’t share food. Hextall won’t give up first-round picks.

PHN+: Four forwards are battling for spots at Penguins camp next week. One was acquired this summer in trade from the Penguins for Jeff Petry (Ryan Poehling). One was last season in a minor league trade (Alex Nylander for Sam Lafferty). Can’t wait to see more from Nylander. I suspect he’ll be one of those players who gets a jersey in most preseason games. Reports and reconnaissance reports are nice, but I trust my eyes in such cases. Sometimes I’m wrong (so far with Nathan Legare), but I’m usually wrong, for good and bad. (see also, John Marino, Kasper Bjorkqvist, Daniel Sprong… et al)

And Penguins 2019 first-round pick Sam Poulin is still trying to establish himself, too. It’s not so funny that three of the four players signed directly after Poulin have already played 69 games or more in the NHL. But the Penguins camp will provide ground for several underdogs with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Zach Aston-Reese has signed a PTO with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sources close to him spoke to PHN and explained why. The Edmonton media seemed to want it too and gave the team a bit of a slap in the face for missing the game. A new home (probably) for Zach Aston-Reese.

Dominik Simon has been kicked out of the Czech Republic World Championships squad after a fight with a teammate. He then took full responsibility and apologized. On Saturday, Sparta Praha, in the Czech first division, announced that they had signed him to a contract and, as part of Simon’s comments, he said the Penguins had offered him an invitation to the camp.

PHN+: Which rookies and prospects will have the most pressure to perform this week in the Penguins’ prospect camp?

Dave Molinari, Shelly Anderson, John Perrotto, Alan Saunders, Hunter Homistek… Subscribe to PHN+ and also get exclusive Steelers and Pirates coverage. PHN+.

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