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Penguins Trade Talk Update: Bryan Rust Drawing Interest

Apparently, Bryan Rust of the Pittsburgh Penguins is drawing trade interest and the Penguins are considering moving him in a deal.

Bryan Rust Penguins

A recent news article by Rob Rossi and Josh Yohe of The Athletic takes a look at several possible trade items pertaining to the Pittsburgh Penguins roster. Of note is a section about forward Bryan Rust.

For starters, the scribes confirmed that several teams have called the about flourishing scorer. And, despite all the other talks surrounding the goaltenders, veteran Patric Hornqvist, or recently signed Jared McCann, Rust could be the Penguins best trade chip this offseason.

They note:

…GM Jim Rutherford, who is not actively shopping Rust and would prefer to keep his breakout top-six winger, according to multiple league sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of trade discussions. 

But, while he’d like to keep Rust, the Penguins are not ruling out a trade and Rutherford would be open to a deal if the return was significant. Apparently, the return Rutherford is seeking is at least an NHL-ready player and a top prospect.

With over a point-per-game this past season, Rust is a steal with two-years left at a $3.5 million cap hit. There would certainly be teams interested, possibly even at that asking price.

Related: Penguins Re-Sign Jared McCann To 2-Yr Extension

Why Move Him After Trading For Kapanen?

If the Penguins do move Rust, it would send a confusing message to the fan base. The team just traded for Kasperi Kapanen and moved a first-round pick to acquire him. It was the ultimate win-now type move. So, why move Rust and take away from the plan to ice the best possible crop of top-six fowards?

Trading one of Evgeni Malkin‘s wingers would be a strange decision but the post points out that perhaps the Penguins believe this is the right time to sell high. They explain:

Though Rust is coming off a career-best season, the Penguins should know better than any club if his 2019-20 production is repeatable or if selling high is the higher-percentage bet.

The other thing to consider, is that Rutherford said in a recent interview that he wasn’t sure if his roster always had the hunger needed to win. It’s not assumed he was referring to Rust specifically when making those comments, but if he were to trade Rust after a fantastic season, it could send the message that no one is safe and snap his guys back into full-effort mode.

Next: NHL Scribe Lists 14 Most Likely NHL Buyout Candidates 2020

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