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Wayne Simmonds departs Pittsburgh


Pittsburgh looks to get returns on pending free agents

PITTSBURGH -- In the weeks since taking the helm of the Penguins, Pittsburgh GM Lance Lavelle has fielded numerous trade offers about the Penguins’ top stars including Jamie Benn and Cam Fowler.  But Lavelle has been adamant that moving a core player with term left on his contract would require a deal that only the most serious of rival general managers might meet.  The large crop of pending unrestricted free agents?

“We’ll be happy with whatever we can get,” said Lavelle to a group of reporters gathered in front of PPG Paints Arena this afternoon.

It has been widely acknowledged by Penguins staff that the existing roster is good enough to compete for a playoff spot, but lacks the talent in the top six and the depth in the bottom six to push for a conference title.  The timer was slowly ticking down, Lavelle admitted, on the moment when Pittsburgh started moving key contributors for futures -- potentially at the expense of qualifying for the postseason.

“The Metro is incredibly tough,” coach Claude Julien stated.  “Losing one key player could make the difference between finishing first and finishing outside of a Wild Card spot.”

That key player, as it turns out, was top line right winger and alternate captain Wayne Simmonds.  On Wednesday afternoon, Pittsburgh agreed to terms with Colorado that sent Wayne Simmonds to the Avalanche in exchange for young forward Joel Armia and Colorado’s third round pick in this summer’s draft.

“Replacing our team’s second-leading scorer will be tough,” confided Julien.  “It’s going to force us to shift how we play the game, if we want to continue to have the same success.”

“It’s business,” Simmonds was overheard saying outside the Penguins locker room as began the process of gathering his possessions.  “I would have loved to stay in Pittsburgh, and I know they wanted to keep me.  But in the end, I understand why they made the trade.  I wish the Penguins and these guys the best of luck in the second half of the season.”

In Armia, the Penguins are hoping to see a forward live up to his oft-lauded potential and fill a top-six role in the future.

“We’ll know in a season or two whether he’s poop or not,” a source within the Penguins front office was quoted as saying.  “He’s shown flashes of that potential recently.”

Enforcer Ryan Reaves was also acquired by Pittsburgh in the deal.

“Ryan offers some depth in our bottom six,” said the same source.  “He may not see a lot of ice time, though.”

Rumors from within the Pittsburgh organization say that the next dozen games will determine whether or not similar moves occur with pending free agents.  It is widely believed that teams are circling in on Alex Goligoski and Dustin Brown.  Pittsburgh has also been rumored to be shopping depth center Nick Bonino in an attempt to add some younger talent to the organization.

Kirklan Lycar

Good stuff, Lance! Really excited to get this deal done

Wayne Simmonds departs Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh looks to get returns on pending free agents

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